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Found 69 results

  1. Ediacaran body fossils are extremely rare in North Carolina. This specimen came from a well dated Ediacaran Site. The site produces Aspidellas, microbial mat, and trace fossils. The Cid fm is the unit exposed in this quarry. Some have argued that this is microbial mat that had been influenced by the movement of water. If you look closely there is at least two specimens and the structure doesn't appear to show the MISS type features. I have sent some photos off to paleontologists who specialize in Ediacaran fossils. I'm eagerly waiting to find out what they think. I have had at least one paleontologist who believes this will be the first record of the presence of these species in the NC Ediacaran!
  2. New fossil one half the size of a rice grain is oldest Bilaterally symmetrical creature. Ancestor of vertebrates, arthropods, etc. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/mar/23/fossil-ikaria-wariootia-bilateral-organism-human-relative
  3. Fossils Suggest the Egg Came Before the Chicken https://www.technologynetworks.com/applied-sciences/news/fossils-suggest-the-egg-came-before-the-chicken-327885 https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2019/november/animal-embryos.html The paper is: Yin et al. (2019) The Early Ediacaran Caveasphaera Foreshadows the Evolutionary Origin of Animal-like Embryology. Current Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.057 https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31429-0 Yours, Paul H.
  4. These tracks were made by a foot-long worm on a "death march" 550 million years ago. Newsweek, Sept. 4, 2019 (has pictures ) https://www.newsweek.com/ancient-worm-tracks-evolution-life-1457624 Barras, C., 2019. Ancient worm fossil rolls back origins of animal life. Nature, 573(7772), p.15. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02556-x https://www.nature.com/magazine-assets/d41586-019-02556-x/d41586-019-02556-x.pdf Chen, Z., Zhou, C., Yuan, X. and Xiao, S., 2019. Death march of a segmented and trilobate bilaterian elucidates early animal evolution. Nature, pp.1-4. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1522-7 Yours, Paul H.
  5. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2215291-540-million-year-old-worm-was-first-segmented-animal-that-could-move/?utm_campaign=RSS|NSNS&utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_content=news https://www.courthousenews.com/scientists-uncover-550-million-year-old-fossils-of-bug-trails/
  6. Earliest animals developed later than assumed, Max Planck Society https://phys.org/news/2019-03-earliest-animals-assumed.html Fossil fats suggest animal life got started later than previously thought. New Atlas. Michael Irving, March 7th, 2019 https://newatlas.com/earliest-animals-evolved-later/58771/ Nettersheim, B.J., Brocks, J.J., Schwelm, A., Hope, J.M., Not, F., Lomas, M., Schmidt, C., Schiebel, R., Nowack, E.C., De Deckker, P. and Pawlowski, J., 2019. Putative sponge biomarkers in unicellular Rhizaria question an early rise of animals. Nature ecology & evolution, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0806-5 A related article: Fossil fats reveal how complex life kicked off after Snowball Earth phase. New Atlas. Michael Irving, January 31st, 2019 https://newatlas.com/fossil-fats-snowball-earth/58292/ yours, Paul H.
  7. Inside out? Ediacaran fossils might represent internal structures, researchers say. At 560 million-years-old, Ediacarans are truly ancient organisms, but do palaeontologists really know what they looked like? Elizabeth Finkel reports. https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/inside-out-ediacaran-fossils-might-represent-internal-structures-researchers-say The paper is: Bobrovskiy, I., Krasnova, A., Ivantsov, A., Luzhnaya, E. and Brocks, J.J., 2019. Simple sediment rheology explains the Ediacara biota preservation. Nature ecology & evolution, p.1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0820-7 Yours, Paul H.
  8. This Australian farmer is saving fossils of some of the planet’s weirdest, most ancient creatures By Elizabeth Finkel, Science, Mar. 28, 2019 https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/australian-farmer-saving-fossils-some-planet-s-weirdest-most-ancient-creatures Yours, Paul H.
  9. Pre/Cambrian Collection

    I have always been quite fascinated with the early stages of development of life on Earth. My interest really picked up when I first discovered the Ediacaran biota, and who can blame me. Those creatures are so enigmatic and fascinating. I was able to pick up a few specimens, but quickly realized that my desire for fossils greatly outweighed the supply and cost of Ediacaran fossils, and I soon discovered the equally fascinating and enigmatic Lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota. I was, and still am, blown away at the quality of preservation of these soft bodied critters. A lot of specimens come very shoddily or incompletely prepared, and while it's been a steep learning curve, I feel that I'm starting to get the hang of prepping them. I've decided to start posting my latest acquisitions as these fossils are too amazing not to share. First up is Cricocosmia jinningensis, a fairly common palaeoscolecid worm from the Chengjiang biota. I have several specimens but this one is the best. It came partially prepped and I am just now satisfied with the result. You can see remnants of the gut preserved as darker regions in the center of the body. Next up is a small hash plate of Bohemiella romingeri brachiopods from the Middle Cambrian of the Czech Republic. Not my usual purchase, but I felt the specimen was too beautiful to pass up.
  10. Pre Cambrian Explosion(s)

    Multiple episodes of rapid evolutionary change may have been linked to climate and oxygen changes from 571 mya on. https://m.phys.org/news/2019-03-ancient-prompt-rethink-animal-evolution.html
  11. For those interested in Ediacaran fossils, you may have seen a lot of supposed medusoids coming out of sandstones/quartzites in Namibia. They are usually labeled as unidentified medusoids, but sometimes as the enigmatic genus Namacalathus to command a higher price. At first glance, some specimens do bear resemblance to a top-down cross section of Namacalathus (such as the specimen below), however note that Namacalathus are preserved as calcite skeletons, not as molds in sandstone. A thread discussing these was posted several years ago, without a definitive conclusion. As far as I can find, there have been no published articles on these so called fossils, and perhaps rightly so. After a recent trip to the Field Museum, I am fairly confident that all of these specimens are simply the result of weathering in sandstone. Here is the specimen at the Field Museum that piqued my interest. A quick scan of our favorite auction site will reveal a number of nearly identical specimens listed as medusoid fossils. These holes are likely what are known as tafoni, defined by Wikipedia as "small (less than 1 cm (0.39 in)) to large (greater than 1 meter (3.3 ft)) cave-like features that develop in either natural or manmade, vertical to steeply sloping, exposures of granular rock (i.e., granite, sandstone) with smooth concave walls, and often round rims and openings." They have various methods of formation, but the more "Namacalathus"-looking specimens look (at least to me) to be the result of iron nodules rusting out. They may also be several tafoni that overlapped. Here is an image of tafoni in sandstone from Namibia. (image credit Wikipedia) Regardless of the exact process of formation, I am confident in saying that these are not fossils. There are plenty of other Ediacaran fossils out there for purchase, and given the high price tag these pseudofossils seem to command, I hope this post helps collectors avoid wasting money.
  12. Earth's Magnetic Field Almost Collapsed 565 Million Years Ago Our planet's core probably started solidifying in the late Ediacaran period, which recharged the magnetic field in the nick of time. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9kpywp/earths-magnetic-field-collapse-ediacaran-core-solidification https://www.newsweek.com/earth-magnetic-field-collapse-inner-core-solid-geodynamo-solar-wind-1307659 The (paywalled) papers are: Richard K. Bono, John A. Tarduno, Francis Nimmo & Rory D. Cottrell 2019. Young inner core inferred from Ediacaran ultra-low geomagnetic field intensity. Nature Geoscience 12, pages 143–147. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0288-0 Peter Driscoll, Geodynamo recharged Nature Geoscience 12, pages 83–84 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0301-2 It is strange how so many odd things occurred during the Ediacaran period. One question is how did this along with everything else did or did not affect evolution of plants and animals? Yours, Paul H.
  13. https://phys.org/news/2019-01-thin-layers-sediment-early-life.html
  14. ediacaran finds

    arrodiscoiscyphozoanaturesrep30590.pdf Ediacaran discs from South America:probable soft-bodied macrofossils unlock the paleogeography of the Clymene ocean Maria Julia Arrouy,Lucas V.Warren,Fernanda Quaglio,Daniel Poire ,Marcello Guimares Soares,Milena Boselli Rosa,Lucia E.Gomez Peral * Nature Scientific reports (6) 30590 publ.: 27-7-2016 *all diacritics omitted
  15. 600 Million Years Ago, the First Scavengers Lurked in Dark Ocean Gardens, By Asher Elbein, New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/science/ediacaran-period-predators.html The bizarre organisms of the Ediacaran Period have long puzzled researchers. Fossil discoveries suggest these ecosystems may have been more complicated than once thought. The paper is: James G. Gehling, Mary L. Droser, 2018, Ediacaran scavenging as a prelude to predation. Emerging Topics in Life Sciences. 2 (2) 213-222; DOI: 10.1042/ETLS20170166 http://www.emergtoplifesci.org/content/2/2/213 Yours, Paul H.
  16. Oldest Known Macroscopic Skeletal Organism Was Masquerading as Fossilized Feces. Some researchers initially dismissed the remains of Palaeopascichnus lineari as teeny turds from a bygone era SmithsonianCom, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews-history-archaeology/oldest-known-macroscopic-skeletal-organism-was-masquerading-fossilized-feces-180970509/ Petrified Chains of 'Poop' Turn Out to Be One of Earth's Oldest Skeletons By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science, October 9, 2018 https://www.livescience.com/63783-mystery-fossil-is-oldest-exoskeleton.html Kolesnikov, A.V., Rogov, V.I., Bykova, N.V., Danelian, T., Clausen, S., Maslov, A.V. and Grazhdankin, D.V., 2018. The oldest skeletal macroscopic organism Palaeopascichnus linearis. Precambrian Research, 316, pp.24-37. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301926817307052 http://www.ipgg.sbras.ru/ru/science/publications/publ-the-oldest-skeletal-macroscopic-organism-palaeopascichnus-047874 Yours, Paul H.
  17. from: Science Magazine Gregory J. Retallack, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oregon (October 3, 2018) Bobrovskiy et al. (1) have assembled impressive biomarker data which rules out three of five alternatives for the biological affinities of the problematic Ediacaran fossils Dickinsonia and Andiva. The cholesterols extracted from the fossils do indeed rule out affinities with lichenized fungi such as Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, and also with Rhizaria. This does not mean that Dickinsonia and Andiva were necessarily animals, because a third fungal phylum, Glomeromycota, also produces cholesterol without ergosterol (2). The living lichenized glomeromycotan, Geosiphon pyriformis, is unusual in housing the photosymbiont inside enlarged cells (3), and its fossil record may include Precambrian problematica such as Horodyskia (4) and Diskagma ranging in age back 2.2 Ga (5). Glomeromycotan fungi are also known from Ediacaran acritarchs with attached hyphae, stalked vesicles, complex wall ultrastructure, and chitin composition demonstrated by FTIR (6). A glomeromycotan lichen fragment preserved by cellular permineralization also has been described from Ediacaran rocks of China (7). Cholesterol in Dickinsonia and Andiva permits both glomeromycotan and animal affinities, but additional observations provide a test of these alternatives. Bobrovskiy et al. (1) also found that the proportion of cholesterol relative to stigmasterol (a chlorophyte biomarker) increased in larger compared with smaller Dickinsonia. This is not what would be expected for a slow-moving or sessile animal increasingly fouled with algae as it grew, nor would such a regular decline be expected from vagaries of animal-feeding on algae. Declining stigmasterol with increasing cholesterol is compatible with building of fungal biomass by controlled populations of photosymbiotic algae. Dickinsonia and Andiva may have been glomeromycotan fungi lichenized with green algae. Undisputed Ediacaran animals trace and body fossils are small (< 5mm diameter) and vermiform with chitin or calcite skeletons, and have been characterized as Ediacaran Wormworld (8). In contrast, Dickinsonia and Andiva are part of a diverse group of large (up to 1.4 m) and unskeletonized, crustose to foliose, quilted organisms, from very different sedimentary facies (9), and could be characterized as Ediacaran Mattressland. References and Notes 1. I. Brobovskiy, et al., Science 361, 1246-1249 (2018). 2. Fontaine et al. Lipids 36, 1357, 2001; J.D. Weete, M. Abril, M. Blackwell, PloS One 5(5), e10899 (2010). 3. A. Schüßler, M.Kluge, M., in The Mycota IX (ed. B. Hock), 151-161 (Springer, Berlin, 2000) 4. G.J. Retallack, K.L. Dunn, J. Saxby, J. Precambrian Research 126, 125–142 (2013). 5. G.J. Retallack, et al., Precambrian Research 235, 71-87 (2013). 6. G.J. Retallack, Botanica Pacifica 4(2), 19-33 (2015). 7. X. Yuan, S. Xiao, T. N. Taylor, Science 308, 1017-1020 (2005) 8. J.D. Schiffbauer et al. GSA Today 26(11), 4-11 (2016) 9. G.J. Retallack, Nature 493, 89-92 (2013), Gondwana Research 36, 94-110 (2016), Alcheringa 40, 583-600 (2016).
  18. I have noticed lately that a lot of fossils of so called Sabellidites cambriensis are popping up on a lot of sites for sale. They're sold as basal annelid worms that arose during the terminal Ediacaran. They predominantly are coming from the Lontova formation, dated at ~541-545 Mya, which is more or less the Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary. I would think that such fossils would be of great interest to researchers since, assuming they are basal annelids, they would represent one of, if not the first, appearances of a modern phylum in the fossil record. Yet the literature on this species is very sparse, with no more than half a dozen papers having been published since it's initial description in 1926. Does anyone here have any information on this subject?
  19. There is a website that describes a controversial fossil found in 2003: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2003/11/10/984724.htm Since it doesn't have a name at the time of publishing, I'm finding it difficult to find more information on it.
  20. As a young mineral, crystal and fossil collector, I was perusing through my uncle's 1962 copy of "Scientific American". In it was an article on recently described "Animals" of the Precambrian period. I was fascinated by the artist's abstract rendition of these critters as they may have lived. The early scientists were beguiled as was I. Naturally, collectors envision finding great things themselves and so the wanting started. Fast forward to 2016 and I find myself retired. Nearly all localities of these Precambrian sites are protected and I realize I won't be digging these fossils anytime soon. My next move was, those who cannot collect , buy. In the order of Jonesing I wanted a Dickinsonia. Then came my two Kimberella. And my last hold out was Tribrachidium. At this point any Vendian creature I get is just a plus, Jonesing is a whimsical thing that can break your piggy bank.