Archaeocyaths are an extinct group of sponges that had a very brief (geologically speaking) and spectacular history. The first archaeocyaths appear roughly 530 million years ago, during the Lower Cambrian. Archaeocyath species were very important members of Lower Cambrian communities. They diversified into hundreds of species during this time period and some of these species contributed greatly to the creation of the first reefs. Reef ecosystems tend to support a wide variety of organisms both in the present and in the past. Despite their great success in terms of numbers, the archaeocyaths were a short-lived group. They were almost completely non-existent by the middle Cambrian, some 10 to 15 million years after their first appearance.

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