Common Name: Vauxia gracilenta
Scienctific Name: Vauxia gracilenta
Species: V. gracilenta
Vauxia gracilenta is a sponge in the kingdom Animalia. It has no common name but Vauxia gracilenta. Along with being in the Kingdom Animalia it is in the phylum Porifera, Class Hyalospongea, Order Lyssakida, Family Vauxiidae, Genus Vauxia, and it is the species Vauxia gracilenta. The size of this sponge is overall: ca. 5x7cm. So they are not to large but quite tiny. They are basically the color gray. No fancy color like purple or pink. These sponges have skeletons so they can hook on to hard or soft surfaces and stay there. If water is rushing through them fast they can make their pores smaller so they don’t receive so much water and nutrients. If you see this fossil you would be able to tell that they have a bush-like appearance and looks similar to sponges now days.
Vauxia gracilenta lived in the Ocean 540 million years ago. That’s before humans existed. Back then scientists believe the water was probably warmer so it might have been easier for it survive in this warmer water. This sponge dose well in this ecosystem because it takes the nutrients from the water around and absorbs it. Their importance to the ecosystem is that they filtered the water around them. Some sponges today can lower excess nitrogen levels in coral reefs. This can be extremely helpful in coral reefs. Vauxia gracilenta is collected at Burgess Pass by Charles Walcott. Burgess pass is at the British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The fossils are part of the Burgess Scale. Today there are no Vauxia gracilenta living. Except they are the most common fossil in Burgess Shale. The Burgess Shale is the biggest fossil collection of this type in the world. Since Vauxia gracilenta is extinct so the population is not growing or shrinking. Vauxia gracilenta was a live millions and millions of years ago. Back when there weren’t many things rooming the Earth. So they didn’t really have to compete for food. Also sponges are the simplest multi-cellular organism there is.
They don’t have a nerve system. Maybe they had to compete for a spot to go in the ground but I highly doubt it because there was so much room. There were not many predators back then for these sponges. Unless a dinosaur liked to eat sponges. It was easy for sponges to get their food. From just taking in the water around them they could be fed. Nothing could really take this water away. If something did want to eat the sponges there wasn’t much they could do. When sponges stick to the ground they stay there and if they get ripped apart they can get go back together. Since they didn’t have a nerve system they don’t have feeling, a brain, blood, or anything like that. If they did have blood it would have flown right out of them.
Some things I found interesting and learned were that they had skeletons of sponging. Sponging is a flexible organic material. It is also common in modern day sponges. What was also interesting was that it was a 540 million years old, yet it still looks like a modern day sponge. I find that kind of weird because it didn’t evolve over time. I guess when it first evolved it was made perfect and didn’t need changes.
Author: Kaitlin H