Nicholas J. Butterfield

Learn More
Silicified peritidal carbonate rocks of the 1250- to 750-million-year-old Hunting Formation, Somerset Island, arctic Canada, contain fossils of well-preserved bangiophyte red algae. Morphological details, especially the presence of multiseriate filaments composed of radially arranged wedge-shaped cells derived by longitudinal divisions from disc-shaped(More)
The organization of the head provides critical data for resolving the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of extinct and extant euarthropods. The early Cambrian-period fuxianhuiids are regarded as basal representatives of stem-group Euarthropoda, and their anterior morphology therefore offers key insights for reconstructing the ancestral(More)
Most Cambrian arthropods employed simple feeding mechanisms requiring only low degrees of appendage differentiation. In contrast, post-Cambrian crustaceans exhibit a wide diversity of feeding specializations and possess a vast ecological repertoire. Crustaceans are evident in the Cambrian fossil record, but have hitherto been known exclusively from small(More)
The fossil record plays a key role in reconstructing deep evolutionary relationships through its documentation of the early diverging stem groups leading to extant phyla. In the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, two famously problematic worms, Odontogriphus and Wiwaxia, have recently been reinterpreted as stem-group molluscs based on their shared expression of(More)
Late Proterozoic organisms must have been diverse and widely distributed, but in general their fossil record is both taxonomically and environmentally limited. Exceptional preservation of Proterozoic fossils is not unknown, but it is usually associated with silicified carbonates from restricted peritidal or playa lake environments. We report here an(More)
Panarthropods are typified by disparate grades of neurological organization reflecting a complex evolutionary history. The fossil record offers a unique opportunity to reconstruct early character evolution of the nervous system via exceptional preservation in extinct representatives. Here we describe the neurological architecture of the ventral nerve cord(More)
Enigmatic macrofossils of late Ediacaran age (580-541 million years ago) provide the oldest known record of diverse complex organisms on Earth, lying between the microbially dominated ecosystems of the Proterozoic and the Cambrian emergence of the modern biosphere. Among the oldest and most enigmatic of these macrofossils are the Rangeomorpha, a group(More)
The Neoproterozoic era was arguably the most revolutionary in Earth history. Extending from 1000 to 541 million years ago, it stands at the intersection of the two great tracts of evolutionary time: on the one side, some three billion years of pervasively microbial 'Precambrian' life, and on the other the modern 'Phanerozoic' biosphere with its(More)