Martin Brasier’s contribution to the palaeobiology of the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition
Alexander G. Liu, Latha R. Menon, Graham A. Shields, Richard H. T. Callow, Duncan McIlroy, 2017. "Martin Brasier’s contribution to the palaeobiology of the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition", Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier, A. T. Brasier, D. McIlroy, N. McLoughlin
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Martin Brasier’s work spanned almost the entire geological column, but the origin of animals and the nature of the Cambrian explosion were areas of particular interest to him. Martin adopted a holistic approach to the study of these topics that considered the interplay between multiple geological and biological phenomena and he sought to interpret the fossil record within the broad context of geological, biogeochemical and ecological changes in the Earth system. Here we summarize Martin’s main contributions to this area of research and assess the impact of his findings on the development of this field.
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This volume in memory of Professor Martin Brasier, which has many of his unfinished works, summarizes recent progress in some of the hottest topics in palaeobiology including cellular preservation of early microbial life and early evolution of macroscopic animal life, encompassing the Ediacara biota. The papers focus on how to decipher evidence for early life, which requires exceptional preservation, employment of state-of-the-art techniques and also an understanding gleaned from Phanerozoic lagerstätte and modern analogues. The papers also apply Martin’s MOFAOTYOF principle (my oldest fossils are older than your oldest fossils), requiring an integrated approach to understanding fossils. The adoption of the null-hypothesis that all putative traces of life are abiotic until proven otherwise, and the consideration of putative fossils within their spatial context, characterized the work of Martin Brasier, as is well demonstrated by the papers in this volume.