Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Apr 27;363(1496):1435-43. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2233.

The Ediacaran emergence of bilaterians: congruence between the genetic and the geological fossil records.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Unravelling the timing of the metazoan radiation is crucial for elucidating the macroevolutionary processes associated with the Cambrian explosion. Because estimates of metazoan divergence times derived from molecular clocks range from quite shallow (Ediacaran) to very deep (Mesoproterozoic), it has been difficult to ascertain whether there is concordance or quite dramatic discordance between the genetic and geological fossil records. Here, we show using a range of molecular clock methods that the major pulse of metazoan divergence times was during the Ediacaran, which is consistent with a synoptic reading of the Ediacaran macrobiota. These estimates are robust to changes in priors, and are returned with or without the inclusion of a palaeontologically derived maximal calibration point. Therefore, the two historical records of life both suggest that although the cradle of Metazoa lies in the Cryogenian, and despite the explosion of ecology that occurs in the Cambrian, it is the emergence of bilaterian taxa in the Ediacaran that sets the tempo and mode of macroevolution for the remainder of geological time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk