Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Searching for sponge origins

Sponges are believed by many researchers to be the earliest living animal group, but there is conflicting evidence for the timing of their origin. A molecular fossil discovery supports the contention that sponges appeared very early, but starkly contradicts the body fossil record.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Sponge evolution as inferred from the molecular versus the body fossil record.


  1. 1.

    Pandey, A. & Braun, E. L. Preprint at (2018).

  2. 2.

    Antcliffe, J. B., Callow, R. H. & Brasier, M. D. Biol. Rev. 89, 972–1004 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Botting, J. P. & Muir, L. A. Palaeoworld 27, 1–29 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Wood, R. Emerg. Top. Life Sci. (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Brocks, J. J. et al. Geobiology 14.2, 129–149 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Zumberge, J. A. et al. Nat. Ecol. Evol. (2018).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Djerassi, C. & Silva, C. J. Accounts Chem. Res. 24, 371–378 (1991).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Love, G. D. et al. Nature 457, 718–721 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Antcliffe, J. B. Palaeontology 56, 917–925 (2013).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Love, G. D. & Summons, R. E. Palaeontology 58.6, 1131–1136 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Gold, D. A. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 113, 2684–2689 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Brocks, J. J. & Butterfield, N. J. Nature 457, 672–673 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Briggs, D. Curr. Biol. 25, R864–R868 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Briggs, D. E. & McMahon, S. Palaeontology 59, 1–11 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Tarhan, L. G., Hood, A. V., Droser, M. L., Gehling, J. G. & Briggs, D. E. Geology 44, 951–954 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Botting, J. P., Zhang, Y. & Muir, L. A. Sci. Rep 7, 5286 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph P. Botting.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Botting, J.P., Nettersheim, B.J. Searching for sponge origins. Nat Ecol Evol 2, 1685–1686 (2018).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing