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OxygenA Four Billion Year History$
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Donald Eugene Canfield

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145020

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145020.001.0001

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Neoproterozoic Oxygen and The Rise of Animals

Neoproterozoic Oxygen and The Rise of Animals

(p.123) Chapter 10 Neoproterozoic Oxygen and The Rise of Animals

Donald Eugene Canfield

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the significance of the Ediacaran Fauna. Until the late 1980s, the Ediacaran Fauna were usually thought to represent ancient, primitive animal forms. Debate was sparked when leading paleontologist Dolf Seilacher from Tubingen, Germany, reinterpreted these fossils as something completely different. He argued that, instead of animals, they were long-extinct varieties of living organisms, a result of failed lineages with no successors. The rocks on the Avalon Peninsula of southeastern Newfoundland house the oldest known representatives of the Ediacaran Fauna. These so-called rangeomorphs date back to 575 million ago and appear relatively soon after the end of the Gaskiers glaciation some 580 million years ago. Evidence suggests that Ediacaran Fauna of the Avalon Peninsula emerged into an ocean undergoing oxygenation.

Keywords:   Ediacaran Fauna, Earth, Dolf Seilacher, fossils, oxygenation, Avalon Peninsula

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