Abstract

Avalon-type fossils are crucial to understanding the origin of Phanerozoic ecosystems, but their usual occurrence in volcaniclastic and siliciclastic facies greatly limits their paleobiological resolution. The unique carbonate-hosted assemblage of the Khatyspyt Formation, on the Olenek uplift of north-central Siberia, promises a much enhanced anatomical and paleo-ecological view of these enigmatic organisms. Avalon-type fossils are preserved by authigenic carbonate cementation in intervals of finely laminated nodular limestones (Khatyspyt-type taphonomic window). Interbedded silicified calcareous mudstones yield diverse carbonaceous compressions, occasionally with taphonomic phantoms of Avalon-type taxa (Miaohe-type taphonomic window). Styles of moldic preservation do not appear to be taxon selective, and therefore cannot alone be responsible for the morphological distinctiveness of Ediacaran macrofossils and the profound disparity in the taxonomic composition between fossil assemblages. On the other hand, the exclusion of Avalon-type fossils from carbonaceous compressions (Miaohe-type preservational window) is a real taphonomic signal that provides an important constraint on the properties of certain Ediacaran tissues.

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