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Evaluating evidence from the Torridonian Supergroup (Scotland, UK) for eukaryotic life on land in the Proterozoic

By
A. T. Brasier
A. T. Brasier
1
School of Geosciences, Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK
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T. Culwick
T. Culwick
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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L. Battison
L. Battison
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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R. H. T. Callow
R. H. T. Callow
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
3
Statoil ASA, Svanholmen 8, Forus, Norway
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M. D. Brasier
M. D. Brasier
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2017

Abstract

The Stoer, Sleat and Torridon groups lie unconformably on Palaeoproterozoic Lewisian metamorphic rocks. They contain organic carbon microfossils claimed to be non-marine and to include eukaryotes. We consider the evidence for terrestrial interpretations from each formation of the Torridonian Supergroup. The range of sedimentary structures and the boron content of illite led us to the overall conclusion that, based on the currently available evidence, the Torridonian Supergroup was probably entirely non-marine. Evidence for terrestrial life in these rocks comes from microbially induced sedimentary structures, including wrinkle structures with reticulate and elephant skin fabrics. Organic remains and microscopic carbonaceous compressions mostly reported from phosphates in the grey shales of the Stoer, Aultbea and Applecross formations are dominated by sphaeromorph acritarchs. The Diabaig phosphatic lagerstätte includes three-dimensional preservation of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, providing remarkable insights into non-marine life around 1 billion years ago.

Supplementary material: Taxonomy of Torridon Group microfossils from thin sections of phosphatic material (adapted from Battison 2012) is available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3522753

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Geological Society

Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier

A. T. Brasier
A. T. Brasier
University of Aberdeen, UK
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D. McIlroy
D. McIlroy
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
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N. McLoughlin
N. McLoughlin
Rhodes University, South Africa
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Geological Society of London
Volume
448
ISBN electronic:
9781786202932
Publication date:
January 01, 2017

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