James G. Gehling

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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(More)
The trace fossil record is important in determining the timing of the appearance of bilaterian animals. A conservative estimate puts this time at approximately equal 555 million years ago. The preservational potential of traces made close to the sediment-water interface is crucial to detecting early benthic activity. Our studies on earliest Cambrian(More)
Despite the status of the eye as an "organ of extreme perfection", theory suggests that complex eyes can evolve very rapidly. The fossil record has, until now, been inadequate in providing insight into the early evolution of eyes during the initial radiation of many animal groups known as the Cambrian explosion. This is surprising because Cambrian(More)
—Ediacaran fossils at Mistaken Point, southeastern Newfoundland (terminal Neoproterozoic; 565–575 Ma) represent the oldest known animal communities. In contrast to most Phanerozoic fossil assemblages, in which postmortem transportation, bioturbation, and the accumulation of hardparts obscure community relationships, all fossils in the Mistaken Point(More)
The Mistaken Point and Trepassey formations (Conception and St. John’s groups, respectively) comprise a terminal Neoproterozoic, deep-marine succession of fine-grained turbidites and volcanogenic deposits that are part of the Avalonian Terrane. Debris-flow beds, slumped units, the low dispersion of turbidity-current paleoflow directions, and the absence of(More)
Fossils of the Ediacara biota offer our earliest insight into diverse macroscopic life on this planet. In particular, given the diversity and range of exquisite soft-bodied preservation, the potential for unraveling aspects of the paleobiology and paleoecology is great. Clearly, however, there can be a taphonomic overprint that dictates how complete the(More)
Despite numerous attempts, classification of the Precambrian fossil Dickinsonia has eluded scientific consensus. This is largely because Dickinsonia and its relatives are structurally simple, lacking morphological synapomorphies to clarify their relationship to modern taxa. However, there is increasing precedence for using ontogeny to constrain enigmatic(More)
The Neoproterozoic Ediacara biota at Mistaken Point contains the oldest diverse Ediacaran assemblages and is one of the few known deepwater localities, yet the biota is dominated by endemic forms, nearly all of which remain undescribed. Thectardis avalonensis new genus and species, one of these endemic forms, is a cm-scale triangular fossil with a raised(More)
The Ediacara Biota represents the oldest fossil evidence for the appearance of animals but linking these taxa to specific clades has proved challenging. Dickinsonia is an abundant, apparently bilaterally symmetrical Ediacara fossil with uncertain affinities. We identified and measured key morphological features of over 900 specimens of Dickinsonia costata(More)
The most abundant taxon of the Neoproterozoic soft-bodied biota near Ediacara, South Australia, occurs as clusters of similarly sized individuals, which suggests synchronous aggregate growth by spatfall. Tubes of Funisia dorothea gen. et sp. nov. were anchored within the shallow, sandy sea bed and lived in dense, typically monospecific concentrations. Tubes(More)