Precambrian animals, new research

This video from the USA says about itself:

The Ediacara biota and first mass extinction of metazoan life

5 February 2016

Just what are prehistoric aliens? Simon Darroch from the Department of Paleobiology [of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History] introduces us to the Ediacaran biota of Southern Namibia.

From the University of California – Riverside in the USA:

Ediacara Biota flourished in bacterially rich marine habitats

May 4, 2018

Summary: Researchers have used biomarkers in ancient rocks to learn more about the environmental conditions and food sources that sustained the Ediacara Biota.

Some of the earliest animals on Earth were soft-bodied ocean-dwellers that ranged from a few inches to several feet and were shaped like circular discs, tubes, or cushion-like bags.

While fossil impressions from the Ediacaran Era — 635 to 541 million years ago — reveal their existence, little is known about this fascinating group of animal-like creatures, which preceded more complex animals with skeletons.

In a paper published Friday, May 4, in Nature Communications, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, used biomarkers in ancient rocks to learn more about the environmental conditions and food sources that sustained this group of animals, called the Ediacara Biota. Led by Gordon Love, a professor of biogeochemistry at UCR, the team studied molecular fossils, known as lipid biomarkers, made by the ancient biological communities and preserved within sedimentary rocks that contain early animal fossils. The communities they studied lived off the coast of the ancient continent Baltica — encompassing modern day Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States — between 560 to 540 million years ago.

Love said the Ediacara Biota lived in nutrient-poor regions of the sea on the continental shelf, an extension of land under the ocean that results in relatively shallow water. Despite this oligotrophic environment, the researchers found there were sufficient nutrients and organic debris for feeding sustained by bacterial primary production and dissolved organic matter.

The team also observed a dearth of sponge biomarkers, suggesting possible niche competition between the Ediacara Biota and sponges in different marine settings.

“Different environmental conditions and nutritional resources could have selected for very different community structures in different regions of the Ediacaran oceans,” Love said.

6 thoughts on “Precambrian animals, new research

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