The Ediacaran Biotas in Space and Time1

  title={The Ediacaran Biotas in Space and Time1},
  author={Benjamin M. Waggoner},
  booktitle={Integrative and Comparative Biology},
  • B. Waggoner
  • Published in
    Integrative and Comparative…
    1 February 2003
  • Environmental Science, Geography
Abstract The “Ediacaran organisms,” which preceded and overlapped the Cambrian radiation of metazoans, include many fossils whose systematic positions remain contentious after over fifty years of study. It might seem that nothing particularly useful can be learned from a biota full of oddballs. However, analyses of the distribution of the Ediacaran organisms in time and space can be carried out without having to guess at the systematic position of the organisms. Combining these results with… 

Ediacaran distributions in space and time: testing assemblage concepts of earliest macroscopic body fossils

Abstract. The mid-late Ediacaran Period (∼579–541 Ma) is characterized by globally distributed marine soft-bodied organisms of unclear phylogenetic affinities colloquially called the “Ediacara

How well do fossil assemblages of the Ediacara Biota tell time

Patterns of origination, evolution, and extinction of early animal life on this planet are largely interpreted from the fossils of the Precambrian soft-bodied Ediacara Biota, spanning nearly 40 m.y.

Of time and taphonomy: preservation in the Ediacaran

The late Neoproterozoic witnessed a revolution in the history of life: the transition from a microbial world to the one known today and this Period is also recognized for its abundance of soft-tissue preservation, which is viewed through a wide variety of taphonomic windows.

Patterns of Evolution of the Ediacaran Soft-Bodied Biota

Abstract When each of the Avalon-, Ediacara-, and Nama-type fossil assemblages are tracked through geological time, there appear to be changes in species composition and diversity, almost

THE EDIACARA BIOTA: Neoproterozoic Origin of Animals and Their Ecosystems

Present evidence suggests that the Ediacara biota included a mixture of stem- and crown-group radial animals, stem-group bilaterian animals, “failed experiments” in animal evolution, and perhaps representatives of other eukaryotic kingdoms.

Palaeolatitudinal distribution of the Ediacaran macrobiota

Macrofossils of the late Ediacaran Period (c. 579–539 Ma) document diverse, complex multicellular eukaryotes, including early animals, prior to the Cambrian radiation of metazoan phyla. To


Describing the anomalous preservation of a distinct, prolific, and previously undescribed Ediacaran biogenic sedimentary structure, informally known as “mop,” from the Ediacara Member of the Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia suggests a shared origin with the holdfast form genus Aspidella and convergence with Pseudorhizostomites.

Ediacaran developmental biology

  • F. DunnA. LiuP. Donoghue
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2018
It is concluded, based on the available evidence, that the affinities of the rangeomorphs and the dickinsoniomorphs lie within Metazoa.

Cambrian explosion: Birth of tree of animals

  • D. Shu
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 2008



A biota of Ediacaran aspect from lower Cambrian strata on the Digermul Peninsula, Arctic Norway

Three elements of the ‘Ediacara fauna’ are described from lower Cambrian strata on the Digermul Peninsula, Norway. Nimbia occlusa Fedonkin, 1980 and Tirasiana sp. occur approximately 80 m above the

The youngest Ediacaran fossils from southern Africa.

The discovery of fossils of the Ediacara biota near the top of the Spitzkopf Member at farm Swanpunt extends the known range of these remains in Namibia more than 600 m to near the sub-Cambrian unconformity and provides support for the concept of the "Vendobionta" as a late Neoproterozoic group of mainly multifoliate organisms with a distinctive quilted segmentation.

Functional and Ecological Aspects of Ediacaran Assemblages

Reference to fossil imprints of soft-bodied Ediacaran metazoans made by Hill and Bonney (1877, p. 757) recorded two of “those curious arrangements of concentric rings which have been supposed to be

Interpreting the Earliest Metazoan Fossils: What Can We Learn?

Careful study of the more complex forms gives good reasons to place at least some of them with the Animalia, and a complementary approach is to use sources of information such as the distribution of fossils across space, time, and paleoenvironments.

The enigmatic Ediacaran (late Precambrian) genus Rangea and related forms

Investigation of the preservation and structure of Rangea indicates that it was probably a colonial octocoral consisting of a large tapering primary polyp, or oozoid, and a number of leaf-shaped, conjoined fronds which bore the feeding polyps; it is suggested to belong to a group of early Ediacaran anthozoans which provide a fossil link between the still living Telestacea and Pennatulacea.

Ediacara-type fossils in Cambrian sediments

Fossil assemblages that preserve soft-bodied organisms are essential for our understanding of the composition and diversity of past life. The worldwide terminal Proterozoic Ediacara-type fossils

Biogeographic analyses of the Ediacara biota: a conflict with paleotectonic reconstructions

  • B. Waggoner
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 1999
Paleotectonic reconstructions for the late Proterozoic have differed over the timing of the Cordilleran rifting between Laurentia and the East Gondwana cratons. Parsimony Analysis of Endemism (PAE)


Present consensus is that archaeocyaths represent both a clade and a grade—Class Archaeocyatha and the archaeocyathan morphological grade—within Phylum Porifera.

The ecology of the Cambrian radiation

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction, by Andrey Yu. Zhuravlev and Robert RidingI. The Environment2. Paleomagnetically and Tectonically Based Global Maps for Vendian to Mid-Ordovician Time, by Alan G. Smith3.