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Rare helical spheroidal fossils from the Doushantuo Lagerstaette; Ediacaran animal embryos come of age?

Shuhai Xiao, James W. Hagadorn, Zhou Chuanming and Yuan Xunlai
Rare helical spheroidal fossils from the Doushantuo Lagerstaette; Ediacaran animal embryos come of age?
Geology (Boulder) (February 2007) 35 (2): 115-118

Abstract

A small quantity of helically coiled spheroidal fossils has been recovered from acid digestion of phosphorite samples from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, South China. These fossils consist of an internal body enclosed in a sculptured envelope that is very similar to that of Doushantuo animal eggs and blastula embryos such as Megasphaera ornata. A hallmark of these fossils is a three-dimensional spiral structure, which always consists of three clockwise coils, and occurs on both the envelope and the internal body. The spiral structure consists of a spiral tunnel or canal flanked by two raised levees, and it is punctured by a series of holes. Some specimens show evidence of uncoiling, invagination along the spiral structure, or bipectinate furrowing on the band between canals. A possible ontogenetic link between these helical spheroidal fossils and Megasphaera ornata is suggested by similar size, similar envelope sculptures, and co-occurrence. We tentatively interpret these fossils as postblastula embryos related to Megasphaera ornata. Thus, they may represent the most advanced embryonic fossils so far known from the Ediacaran, although their adult morphologies and phylogenetic affinity remain unknown.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 35
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Rare helical spheroidal fossils from the Doushantuo Lagerstaette; Ediacaran animal embryos come of age?
Affiliation: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Geosciences, Blacksburg, VA, United States
Pages: 115-118
Published: 200702
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 22
Accession Number: 2007-023041
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2007033
Illustration Description: illus.
N24°40'00" - N29°19'60", E103°00'00" - E109°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Amherst College, USA, United StatesNanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, CHN, China
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200713
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