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The comment by Smith et al. rejects a previous interpretation of Middle Ordovician fossils as holothurians. This rejection is based on the use of inappropriate techniques to study the fossils, and insufficient consideration of their taphonomy. The fossils can be shown not to be sponges (the suggested alternative interpretation), and despite the taphonomic limitations, do show echinoderm characters such as the pentagonal oral ring and ambulacral structures.doi:10.26879/367 fatcat:vqsfixrs2na47pooidiwyopnjq