, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 559–566 | Cite as

Oldest known fossil of Rossellids (Hexactinellida, Porifera) from the Ordovician–Silurian transition of Anhui, South China

  • Lixia LiEmail author
  • Dorte Janussen
  • Renbin Zhan
  • Joachim Reitner
Research Paper


Rossellids are geographically widespread in the modern deep-water sponge community. They are referred to Lyssacinosida, characterized by hypodermal pentactines and choanosomal megascleres of hexactines and diactines or the latter only. The fossil records of rossellids are usually found in the Cenozoic, with the earliest existence known from the Upper Cretaceous, later than the molecular phylogenetic result. A new lyssacinosan hexactinellid, Palaeorossella sinensis gen. et sp. nov., is described from the uppermost Ordovician of Anhui, South China. The sponge shows a saccular, globular or oval form with relatively thick wall. The skeleton is lyssacine type mainly composed of hexactines and stauractines, with the outer margin reinforced by hypodermal pentactines, which usually protrude the periphery as prostalia lateralia. The new species is well-preserved with typical hypodermal and prostalia pentactines as well as an articulated skeleton, giving some tentative insights into the affinity between the new species and other taxa in Rossellidae. It represents the oldest record of rossellids, providing new information for understanding the phylogeny of rossellids and on the evolution of modern Hexactinellida.


Hexactinellida Rossellids Porifera Ordovician–Silurian transition Anhui South China 



We are grateful to reviewers Dr. Joseph P. Botting (Department of Natural Sciences, Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum Wales, UK) and Dr. Mike Reich (SNSB–Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie München, Germany) and for their perceptive critiques, which have improved the paper. We further thank Dr. Joseph P. Botting and Professor Yuandong Zhang (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, China) for valuable discussions concerning the Anji sponge fauna. Thanks also go to Dinghua Yang for the reconstruction. This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, nos. 41702005, 41521061) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant XDB26000000). This paper is also a contribution to the IGCP 653 project.


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Copyright information

© Paläontologische Gesellschaft 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and StratigraphyNanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Center for Excellence in Life and PaleoenvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Research Institute and Nature Museum SenckenbergFrankfurtGermany
  4. 4.Department of Geobiology, Centre for Geosciences, Faculty of Geosciences and GeographyGeorg-August-University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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