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Meroblastic cleavage identifies some Ediacaran Doushantuo (China) embryo-like fossils as metazoans

Yin Zongjun, Zhu Maoyan, David J. Bottjer, Zhao Fangchen and Paul Tafforeau
Meroblastic cleavage identifies some Ediacaran Doushantuo (China) embryo-like fossils as metazoans
Geology (Boulder) (September 2016) 44 (9): 735-738

Abstract

Ediacaran Doushantuo (Formation) embryo-like fossils (EDEFs, ca. 600 Ma) from South China display cellular and sub-cellular structures and provide a unique window on the early evolution of multicellular eukaryotes. But there have been widely disparate interpretations of these fossils. Here we report new fossil embryo-like forms from the Doushantuo phosphorite that exhibit a meroblastic cleavage pattern. Our results from high-resolution propagation phase contrast-synchrotron radiation X-ray microtomography (PPC-SRmu CT) demonstrate that these fossils preserve features directly comparable to those of modern meroblastic animal embryos that utilize discoidal cleavage. Given that discoidal-type meroblastic cleavage occurs only in metazoans, the phylogenetic positions of these fossils probably fall into the animal branch of the holozoan tree. Meroblastic as well as holoblastic cleavage forms were thus present by ca. 600 Ma, substantiating the conclusion derived from molecular clock estimates that a variety of metazoan lineages had evolved by the mid-Ediacaran after the termination of the Marinoan glaciation, if not earlier.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 44
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Meroblastic cleavage identifies some Ediacaran Doushantuo (China) embryo-like fossils as metazoans
Affiliation: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing, China
Pages: 735-738
Published: 201609
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 35
Accession Number: 2016-083470
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2016240
Illustration Description: illus.
N24°40'00" - N29°19'60", E103°00'00" - E109°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Southern California, USA, United StatesEuropean Synchrotron Radiation Facility, FRA, France
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: 201640
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