Sorry, but I can't resist a bit of gratuitous celebration of Welsh palaeontology. We've been working on this for a while, thanks to National Geographic, and can finally announce it properly. The Afon Gam Biota is early Ordovician in age - almost exactly the same, it turns out now, as the Fezouata Biota - but although it's got arthropods and worms preserved, the dominant group is the sponges. Yes, I'm biased. But it's still true!
The importance of the fauna has been overlooked until now, mainly because a lot of the fossils are "difficult" and the spectacular-looking things that you might associate with the Burgess etc. are rare. People have regularly mentioned the black streaks but haven't looked at enough of them to work out what they are; it turns out some of them are algae, others are worms, and others are who-knows-what.
Anyway, thanks to the French project RALI (Rise of Animal LIfe) it's been published open access in Scientific Reports:
Enjoy. Or otherwise. Like I say, it's full of sponges.
Very interesting paper Joe
keep up the good work
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