Sponge spicules were extracted from dolostone in the lower part of the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation in the Yangtze Gorges area (South China), which has an age of ∼630 million years. The spicules appear to occur in at least two morphologies; monaxons and triaxons with rays in various planes. Energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) analysis indicates that the spicules are siliceous. Furthermore, closely spaced occurrences of hexactinellid sponge spicules are observed in thin sections. This study represents the first discovery of siliceous sponges from the well known standard section of the Neoproterozoic in South China, and also confirms the stratigraphie extension of the most primitive multicellular animal before the Gaskiers glaciation.
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Vol. 16 • No. 3