Abstract

Biostratigraphy underpins the Phanerozoic time scale, but its application to pre-Ediacaran strata has remained limited because Proterozoic taxa commonly have long or unknown stratigraphic ranges, poorly understood taphonomic constraints, and/or inadequate geochronological context. Here we report the discovery of abundant vase-shaped microfossils from the Callison Lake dolostone of the Coal Creek inlier (Yukon, Canada) that highlight the potential for biostratigraphic correlation of Neoproterozoic successions using species-level assemblage zones of limited duration. The fossiliferous horizon, dated here by Re-Os geochronology at 739.9 ± 6.1 Ma, shares multiple species-level taxa with a well-characterized assemblage from the Chuar Group of the Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA), dated by U-Pb on zircon from an interbedded tuff at 742 ± 6 Ma. The overlapping age and species assemblages from these two deposits suggest biostratigraphic utility, at least within Neoproterozoic basins of Laurentia, and perhaps globally. The new Re-Os age also confirms the timing of the Islay δ13Ccarbonate anomaly in northwestern Canada, which predates the onset of the Sturtian glaciation by >15 m.y. Together these data provide global calibration of sedimentary, paleontological, and geochemical records on the eve of profound environmental and evolutionary change.

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