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Ediacaran Survivors


The following is a list of Ediacaran (or Ediacaran-like) taxa which have been reported from the Cambrian. The list is not exhaustive.

Keywords: Ediacaran, Cambrian


For many years, Ediacarans were believed to have been confined to the Vendian. Indeed, there was speculation (e.g. Seilacher 1984) that a mass extinction had terminated the Vendian and eliminated the Ediacaran biota. Since about 1990, however, there has been a steadily accumulating body of Cambrian age discoveries, and a belief that a number of Cambrian forms are, in fact, the direct descendants of Ediacarans.

Note, however, that some of these taxa may pre-date the small shelly faunas. If they all do, then their "Cambrian-ness" may indicate nothing more than that the base of the Cambrian - which is, after all, an arbitrary, man-made construct - has been drawn "too low."
The following list of Ediacaran Survivors is drawn from references I have come across in the course of preparing a general account of the Ediacaran biota. It is not intended to be comprehensive or even representative, but may provide a useful indication of the range of described taxa.
Vendian Taxon Cambrian Taxon Notes and References
Charniodiscus Thaumaptilon Burgess Shale (Conway Morris 1993; rejected by Gehling 1991, pp. 204-207)
Conomedusites Conulata Gehling 1991, p. 219
Cyclomedusa Cyclomedusa sp. Digermul Peninsula (Crimes & McIlroy 1999)
Ediacaria flindersi Ediacaria booleyi Crimes, Insole & Williams 1995 Booley Bay (Crimes, Insole & Williams 1995);
Ediacaria flindersi Velumbrella czarnocki Stasinska 1960
Ediacaria flindersi ? Pickerill 1982
Kullingia (spp?) Kullingia (spp?) Crimes & McIlroy 1999 (review)
  Kullingia concentrica Glaessner 1979 Jensen, Gehling & Droser 1998
Nimbia occlusa Nimbia occlusa Fedonkin 1980 Booley Bay (Crimes, Insole & Williams 1995); Digermul Peninsula (Crimes & McIlroy 1999)
Ovatoscutum Plectodiscus Runnegar & Fedonkin 1992
Ovatoscutum Silurovelella Runnegar & Fedonkin 1992
Parvancorina minchami Skania fragilis Walcott 1931 Comparison originally put forward by Della Cave & Simonetta 1975; rejected by Glaessner 1980; reasserted by Gehling 1991, p. 207.
Praecambridium Mobergella Hedström 1923; Discinella Hall 1872 Glaessner & Wade 1966, p. 624
Pteridinium Emmonaspis cambrensis Conway Morris 1993
Stromatoveris psygmoglena Shu, Conway Morris & Han 2006 Chengjiang, Yunnan, China (Shu et al. 2006)
Tirasiana ??? Tirasiana sp. Digermul Peninsula (Crimes & McIlroy 1999)


Conway Morris, S. (1993): Ediacaran-like fossils from the Cambrian Burgess Shale type faunas of North America. Palaeontology 36: 593-635.

Crimes, T.P.; Insole, A.; Williams, B.P.J. 1995: A rigid-bodied Ediacaran biota from Upper Cambrian strata in Co. Wexford, Eire. Geological Journal 30: 89-109.

Della Cave & Simonetta 1975

Gehling, James G. 1991: The case for Ediacaran fossil roots to the metazoan tree. Geological Society of India Memoir 20: 181-224.

Glaessner, M.F. 1980

Glaessner, Martin F.; Wade, Mary 1966: The late Precambrian fossils from Ediacara, South Australia. Palaeontology 9 (4), pp. 599-628.

Jensen, Sören; Gehling, James G.; Droser, Mary L. 1998: Ediacara-Type Fossils in Cambrian Sediments. Nature 393: 567-569.

Pickerill, R.K. 1982: Cambrian Medusoids from the St. John Group, southwestern New Brunswick. In Current Research, Part B. Geological Survey of Canada 82-1B: 71-76.

Runnegar, B.; Fedonkin, M.A. 1992: Proterozoic metazoan body fossils. In Schopf, J.W.; Klein, C. (eds.) 1992: The Proterozoic biosphere: A Multidisciplinary Study. Cambridge, v. 1: 369-388.

Seilacher, A. (1984): Late Precambrian and Early Cambrian metazoa: Preservational or real extinctions? In Holland, H.D.; Trendall, A.F. Patterns of change in earth evolution, Springer Verlag, pp. 159-168.

Shu, D.-G.; Conway Morris, S.; Han, J. 2006 in Shu, D-G.; Conway Morris, S.; Han, J.; Li, Y.; Zhang, X.-L.; Hua, H.; Zhang, Z.-F.; Liu, J.-N.; Guo, J.-F.; Yao, Y.; Yasui, K. 2006: Lower Cambrian vendobionts from China and early diploblast evolution. Science 312: 731-734.

Stasinska, A. 1960: Velumbrella czarnockii n. gen., n. sp. - Meduse du Cambrien Inferieur des Monts de Sainte-Croix. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 5: 337-346.

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