A deep root for the Cambrian Explosion: implications of new bio- and chemostratigraphy from the Siberian Platform

Mao-yan Zhu, Andrey Zhuravlev, Rachel Wood, Fangchen Zhao, Sergey Sokhov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Much uncertainty remains as to the temporal relationship between the Ediacaran and Cambrian biotas, yet this is critical to our understanding of the rise of metazoans. Here we present new high resolution carbon isotope chemostratigraphy and biostratigraphy for a terminal Ediacaran to Cambrian succession on the eastern Siberian Platform, Russia, which shows the presence of a succession of diverse fossil assemblages before the start of the basal Cambrian negative carbon isotope excursion (BACE). Softbodied Ediacaran biota (Beltanelliformis) occur before the start of the late Ediacaran positive carbon isotope plateau (EPIP), a mixed Ediacaran and Cambrian skeletal biota (Cloudina, Anabarities, Cambrotubulus) appear within the EPIP, and diverse Cambrian-type small shelly fossils including Protohertzina and other protocondonts, halkieriids, chancelloriids, hyoliths, hyolithelminthes and the burrowing trace fossil
(Diplocraterion) appear at the beginning of the BACE. These integrated data show that taxa attributed to so-called Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian skeletal biotas in fact overlap without notable biotic turnover, and thus refute the presence of a large isotope excursion coincident with mass extinction of all Ediacaran biota. We propose a new biozone, the Cloudina-Namacalathus-Sinotubulites Assemblage Zone, to precede the known small shelly fossil (SSF) zones. These observations raise doubts as to whether there is any true separation between the Ediacaran and Cambrian skeletal biotas, and suggest that there is a deep root for the Cambrian Explosion of metazoans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-462
JournalGeology
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

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