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Nature. 2011 Feb 17;470(7334):390-3. doi: 10.1038/nature09810.

An early Ediacaran assemblage of macroscopic and morphologically differentiated eukaryotes.

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1
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China. xlyuan@nigpas.ac.cn

Abstract

The deep-water Avalon biota (about 579 to 565 million years old) is often regarded as the earliest-known fossil assemblage with macroscopic and morphologically complex life forms. It has been proposed that the rise of the Avalon biota was triggered by the oxygenation of mid-Ediacaran deep oceans. Here we report a diverse assemblage of morphologically differentiated benthic macrofossils that were preserved largely in situ as carbonaceous compressions in black shales of the Ediacaran Lantian Formation (southern Anhui Province, South China). The Lantian biota, probably older than and taxonomically distinct from the Avalon biota, suggests that morphological diversification of macroscopic eukaryotes may have occurred in the early Ediacaran Period, perhaps shortly after the Marinoan glaciation, and that the redox history of Ediacaran oceans was more complex than previously thought.

PMID:
21331041
DOI:
10.1038/nature09810
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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