• rudist bivalves;
  • Upper Aptian;
  • new genus;
  • biostratigraphy;
  • evolution

Abstract: Archaeoradiolites gen. nov. (Radiolitidae), mainly characterized by radially arranged branching walls structuring the outer shell layer, includes two species, Archaeoradiolites primitivus gen. et sp. nov. and Archaeoradiolites hispanicus gen. et sp. nov. (type species), the distinction of which is based on size, shell habit and development of the radially branching microstructure. Their geographical distribution is restricted to south-east Spain and south-west France, i.e. the Western European Tethyan margin, whereas data from the Black Sea coast of Turkey suggest a possible extension to the Eastern European Tethyan margin. Each species has a distinct biostratigraphic distribution within the Upper Aptian (mainly the Gargasian). Agriopleura is suggested to be the direct ancestor of Archaeoradiolites, which in turn is considered as the progenitor of Eoradiolites. The onset of the Radiolitidae is associated with global oceanic changes that favoured calcite as opposed to aragonite biomineralization. The acquisition of a porous shell microstructure appears, in many respects, biologically advantageous and may account for gaining a rapid (< 1 myr) ecological ability for efficient colonization and occupation of space of the family in the earlier phase of its radiation.