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Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are ubiquitous and crucial components of modern dryland ecosystems and probably were the first community type to colonize the Precambrian land surface. BSCs are complex symbioses of eubacteria, cyanobacteria, green algae, mosses, lichens, and fungi. BSCs, having adapted to intense ultraviolet radiation and drastic variations in precipitation and temperature, have likely been prevalent in terrestrial environments since the Precambrian and are undoubtedly under-reported in the rock record. This is probably due to the crusts’ inconspicuous appearance and preservational taphonomy. In order to improve understanding of the diverse appearances of BSCs in sedimentary strata, this study...

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