Abstract

The Shibantan Lagerstätte (551–543 Ma) in the Yangtse Gorges area in South China is one of the best-known examples of terminal Ediacaran fossil assemblages preserved in marine carbonate rocks. Taxonomically dominated by benthic organisms, the Shibantan Lagerstätte preserves various photoautotrophs, biomineralizing tubular fossils, Ediacara-type macrofossils (including rangeomorphs, arboreomorphs, erniettomorphs, palaeopascichnids, a possible dickinsoniomorph, the mobile bilaterian Yilingia, and soft-bodied tubular fossils), abundant ichnofossils, and a number of problematic and dubious fossils. Shibantan fossils provide intriguing insights into ecological interactions among mobile bilaterians, sessile benthic Ediacara-type organisms, and microbial mats, thus offering important data to test various hypotheses accounting for the decline of the Ediacara biota and the concurrent expansion of bilaterian bioturbation and mobility across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition.

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