A cosmopolitan late Ediacaran biotic assemblage: new fossils from Nevada and Namibia support a global biostratigraphic link

Proceedings of the Royal Society B
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Abstract

Owing to the lack of temporally well-constrained Ediacaran fossil localities containing overlapping biotic assemblages, it has remained uncertain if the latest Ediacaran (ca 550–541 Ma) assemblages reflect systematic biological turnover or environmental, taphonomic or biogeographic biases. Here, we report new latest Ediacaran fossil discoveries from the lower member of the Wood Canyon Formation in Nye County, Nevada, including the first figured reports of erniettomorphs, Gaojiashania, Conotubus and other problematic fossils. The fossils are spectacularly preserved in three taphonomic windows and occur in greater than 11 stratigraphic horizons, all of which are below the first appearance of Treptichnus pedum and the nadir of a large negative δ13C excursion that is a chemostratigraphic marker of the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. The co-occurrence of morphologically diverse tubular fossils and erniettomorphs in Nevada provides a biostratigraphic link among latest Ediacaran fossil localities globally. Integrated with a new report of Gaojiashania from Namibia, previous fossil reports and existing age constraints, these finds demonstrate a distinctive late Ediacaran fossil assemblage comprising at least two groups of macroscopic organisms with dissimilar body plans that ecologically and temporally overlapped for at least 6 Myr at the close of the Ediacaran Period. This cosmopolitan biotic assemblage disappeared from the fossil record at the end of the Ediacaran Period, prior to the Cambrian radiation.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A cosmopolitan late Ediacaran biotic assemblage: new fossils from Nevada and Namibia support a global biostratigraphic link
Series title Proceedings of the Royal Society B
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2017.0934
Volume 284
Issue 1858
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Royal Society Publishing
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description Article 20170934; 10 p.
First page 1
Last page 10
Country United States
State Nevada