Abstract

Ediacara-type fossils are rare in the southwestern United States, and Cambrian occurrences of soft-bodied Ediacaran-type fossils are extremely rare. We report both discoidal and frondlike fossils comparable to Ediacaran taxa from the western edge of the Great Basin. We describe one specimen of a discoidal fossil, referred to the form species ?Tirasiana disciformis, from the upper member of the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation from the Salt Spring Hills, California. Two fragmentary specimens of frond-like soft-bodied fossils are described from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation in the White Mountains, California, and the upper member of the Wood Canyon Formation in the southern Kelso Mountains, California. On the basis of similarities with fossils from the lower member of the Wood Canyon Formation and from the Spitzkopf Member of the Urusis Formation of Namibia, these specimens are interpreted as cf. Swartpuntia. All fossils were collected from strata containing diagnostic Early Cambrian body and trace fossils, and thus add to previous reports of complex Ediacaran forms in Cambrian marine environments. In this region, Swartpuntia persists through several hundred meters of section, spanning at least two trilobite zones.

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