Article: A review of favositid affinities
Although the favositids have been traditionally interpreted as a group of Palaeozoic tabulate corals, there has been persistent speculation, particularly over the last decade, that they could be the massive basal skeletons of sponges and should be transferred to the Porifera. Two recent papers, claiming respectively the preservation of spicules and the fossilization of soft polyps, strongly focus the dispute. Here, all the evidence relating to the affinities of favositids, including these recent claims, is reviewed. It is concluded that this evidence strongly favours retention of the favositids within the Tabulata and assignment of the Tabulata to the Cnidaria Anthozoa.