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Recent geochemical data from Oman, Newfoundland, and the western United States suggest that long-term oxidation of Ediacaran oceans resulted in progressive depletion of a large dissolved organic carbon (DOC) reservoir and potentially triggered the radiation of acanthomorphic acritarchs, algae, macroscopic Ediacara organisms, and, subsequently, motile(More)
Phosphatized microfossils in the Ediacaran (635-542 Myr ago) Doushantuo Formation, south China, have been interpreted as the embryos of early animals. Despite experimental demonstration that embryos can be preserved, microstructural evidence that the Doushantuo remains are embryonic and an unambiguous record of fossil embryos in Lower Cambrian rocks,(More)
Stereoblastic embryos from the Doushantuo Formation of China exhibit occasional asynchronous cell division, with diminishing blastomere volume as cleavage proceeded. Asynchronous cell division is common in modern embryos, implying that sophisticated mechanisms for differential cell division timing and embryonic cell lineage differentiation evolved before(More)
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(More)
Ediacara fossils are central to our understanding of animal evolution on the eve of the Cambrian explosion, because some of them likely represent stem-group marine animals. However, some of the iconic Ediacara fossils have also been interpreted as terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Our ability to test these hypotheses is limited by a taphonomic bias(More)
Phosphatic sediments of the Late Neoproterozoic (ca. 600 million years old [Myr]) Doushantuo Formation at Weng'an, South China, contain fossils of multicellular algae preserved in anatomical detail. As revealed by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, these fossils include both simple pseudoparenchymatous thalli with apical growth but no(More)
Bailey et al. propose that the Ediacaran microfossils Megasphaera and Parapandorina, previously interpreted as animal resting eggs and blastula embryos, represent Thiomargarita-like sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, claiming that this interpretation better explains their abundance and taphonomy. Here we highlight important observations that significantly weaken(More)
Ediacara fossils are among the oldest known macroscopic and complex life forms. Their bodyplan, ecology, and phylogenetic affinities have been controversial. On the basis of taphonomic observations, Seilacher [Seilacher, A. (1989) Lethaia 22, 229-239] proposed that the core elements of the Ediacara biota, the vendobionts, were constructed with serially or(More)
Phosphorites of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation (∼600 million years old) yield spheroidal microfossils with a palintomic cell cleavage pattern. These fossils have been variously interpreted as sulphur-oxidizing bacteria, unicellular protists, mesomycetozoean-like holozoans, green algae akin to Volvox, and blastula embryos of early metazoans or bilaterian(More)