Fossil Carnivorous Sponge?

In my email several months ago Casey Burns, a field associate with the California Academy of Science, sent me a fantastic find.  The photo is a potential carnivorous sponge from the Eocene, roughly 55 million to 39 million years ago  Eocene/Oligocene boundary at 33 million years ago.  The fossil is from the well-known Mist crinoid locality in the Keasey Formation of Northwest Oregon. Other sponges from the same formation have already been described. The site is thought to be ash-derived mud and estimated to be about 600 meters. The original collectors of the beautiful specimen were Lori and Rob Healy.

 

Here is the fossilSponge 2

And here is a contemporary and Cladorhizid species.

chondrocladia-lyra-carnivorous-sponge

Dr. M (1605 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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