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The affinities of the Ediacara biota are a source of continual debate. A case can be made, however, that they represent an assortment of stem and crown group metazoans together with a large proportion of enigmatic forms that are difficult to classify and likely represent extinct multicellular evolutionary experiments. In the backdrop of these complex multicellular organisms are microbial communities, which in the absence of metazoan grazing and active bioturbating, constructed thick mat structures that dominated shallow- to deep-water paleoenvironments throughout the Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic. Microbial mat communities played an important role in Ediacaran ecosystems by creating a firm...

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