Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Early Oceans, Early Animals

By Keith Cowing
May 14, 2010

The Ediacaran Period (635-542 million years ago) was a time of fundamental environmental and evolutionary change, culminating in the first appearance of macroscopic animals. A new study from NAI’s Arizona State University Team outlines a detailed record of Ediacaran ocean chemistry for the Doushantuo Formation in the Nanhua Basin, South China. Their results suggest a stratified ocean was maintained dynamically throughout the Ediacaran Period. Their model reconciles seemingly conflicting geochemical conditions proposed previously for Ediacaran deep oceans, and helps explain the patchy fossil record of early metazoans. Their paper appears in the April 2nd issue of Science.

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

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