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Journal Article

Discovery of 505-million-year old chitin in the basal demosponge Vauxia gracilenta

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons15815

Schwille,  P.
Schwille, Petra / Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons96518

Petrasek,  Z.
Schwille, Petra / Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62571

Steinhof,  Axel
Service Facility 14C Lab, Dr. A. Steinhof, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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srep03497.pdf
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Citation

Ehrlich, H., Rigby, J. K., Botting, J. P., Tsurkan, M. V., Werner, C., Schwille, P., et al. (2013). Discovery of 505-million-year old chitin in the basal demosponge Vauxia gracilenta. Scientific Reports, 3: 3497. doi:10.1038/srep03497.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0015-0FC0-3
Abstract
Sponges are probably the earliest branching animals, and their fossil record dates back to the Precambrian. Identifying their skeletal structure and composition is thus a crucial step in improving our understanding of the early evolution of metazoans. Here, we present the discovery of 505–million-year-old chitin, found in exceptionally well preserved Vauxia gracilenta sponges from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Our new findings indicate that, given the right fossilization conditions, chitin is stable for much longer than previously suspected. The preservation of chitin in these fossils opens new avenues for research into other ancient fossil groups.