"This is one of the first times that a member of the Ediacaran biota
has been identified as an animal on the basis of positive evidence."
In The Rise and Fall of the Ediacaran Biota
The Ediacaran biota
provide the next window into the rise of metazoans.
"In a sense, the Ediacaran biota
may be failed experiments in animal multicellularity," explains Douglas Erwin, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
"These are believed to be the earliest multi-cellular animals living on the earth and they existed 20million years before the Ediacaran biota
found in Australia, which was previously regarded as the earliest such animal," Chen Junyuan, professor with theNanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology said.
Chapter 4, "The Not Missing Fossils?," looks at the Ediacaran biota. Part II, "How to Build an Animal," consists of seven chapters treating the role of genes in organismal development, and why Meyer and others are not impressed with classical neo-Darwinian mechanisms as potential explanations for the origin of the Cambrian body plans.
While preservation of most Ediacaran biotas occurs as impressions, a few fossil biotas scattered in time through the late Precambrian have been discovered that preserve detailed anatomy in fine-grained sediments.
Some paleontologists argue that the Ediacaran biota
represent an entire kingdom unrelated to the modern Kingdom Animalia.
Called the Ediacaran biota
, these hard-to-categorize organisms apparently led a peaceful lifestyle, passively soaking up energy from the sun and from chemicals in the ocean.
Known as the Ediacaran biota
, these fossils represent the earliest known animals as well as some unclassifiable creatures.
Swartpuntia is the most recent addition to a group of organisms known as the Ediacaran biota
, which first appeared about 600 million years ago and went extinct at the start of the Cambrian, 543 million years ago.
At the end of the so-called Precambrian time, life broke through the size barrier, giving rise to a group of large-bodied enigmas known as the Ediacaran biota