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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 May 14;93(10):4990-3.

Ediacaran biota from Sonora, Mexico.

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Department of Geography and Geology, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA.


The Ediacaran biota is the earliest diverse community of macroscopic animals and protoctists. Body and trace fossils in the Clemente Formation of northwestern Sonora extend downward the geologic range of Ediacaran forms. Taxa present in the Clemente Formation include cf. Cyclomedusa plana, Sekwia sp., an erniettid (bearing an air mattress-like "pneu" body construction), and the trace fossils Lockeia ichnosp. and Palaeophycus tubularis. The trace fossils confirm the presence of sediment-dwelling animals in this shallow marine community. The body fossils are headless, tailless, and appendageless. Some may be body fossils of animals but others may be fossils of large protoctists. These body and trace fossils, recovered from thinly bedded sandstones and siltstones, occur 75 meters lower in the Sonoran stratigraphic section than a distinctive Clemente Formation oolite. The stratigraphic position of the fossils below this oolite permits long-distance correlation between fossiliferous Proterozoic strata of Mexico and the United States. Correlations utilizing both the Clemente Formation oolite and a trace fossil (Vermiforma antiqua) confirm the antiquity (600 million years or more) of this body fossil-rich community of macroscopic eukaryotes. The recently discovered body fossils are the oldest known remains of the Ediacaran biota.

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