Are there any good sources on Edicarian fauna?

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Are there any good sources on Edicarian fauna?
« on: 06/12/2010 04:30:04 »
Leigh asked the Naked Scientists:
I am a first year undergraduate at University College London and wondered if you could help clarify some confusion over the Precambrian Ediacaran fauna.

I am well read in the evolution of life and have a strong interest in the origins of multicellularity and macroevolutionary events, as a result I have decided to study the Ediacaran fauna for my first year project. Since beginning my research I am confused over the nature of conflicting information I have encountered so far. With much of the available scientific papers being written in the 1980's of before... 

While I realise the Ediacaran fauna and their biological affinities are a contentious issue (and indeed  one of the contributing reasons for my interest) I would very much appreciate it if someone with expertise could briefly explain the major current views surrounding the subject (e.g. The Garden of Ediacara Theory vs. Adolf Seilacher's extinct kingdom Vendozoa theory.)

I feel the recent "First Life" documentary hosted on the BBC did more to confuse, rather than clarify my understanding. How do the NewFoundland Fauna of Mistaken Point fall into the story?

Additionally is there any papers you could point me to?

Many Thanks,


What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/12/2010 04:30:04 by _system »


Offline JimBob

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Are there any good sources on Edicarian fauna?
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/2010 04:07:45 »
I believe that the International Commission on Stratigraphy has done more to cause the confusion than anything else. Stratigraphers are strange people. They will argue a bug for years and try to establish a boundary. And none I have ever met are diplomatic or willing to compromise.

For example: The Burgess shale is considered Middle Cambrian . All the references I can find still say this, even, alas, Wikipedia. The shale dates to about 505 Million years. AND the most recent time scale published by the ICS - at least the one put out earlier this year - dates the Ediacaran from 635 - 542 Ma.

I am kinda getting up there in years. When I was in school Continental Drift was still in question, although it was in its death throws. And the Cambrian began about 600 Ma. (1966)

So correcting the three theories on evolution to the same the same time scale is integral to getting the references to at least match.   

Looking at the history of the geologic time scale may be the place to start sorting out the "conflicting" information.

Additionally, I believe organisms quite similar very primitive Deuterostomes have been dated to 635 Ma or older.

I am more than likely less informed on this than you are. So take all of this with caution.

The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein