Event Title

Enigmatic Ediacaran Body Fossil from the Albemarle Group, Carolina Terrane, Stanly County, North Carolina

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Altier, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-27-2017 6:00 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 6:40 PM

Research Program

Internship at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Poster Number

45

Abstract

The Ediacaran period, lasting from about 600 to 550 million years ago, produced a handful of primitive fossils, today found in locations around the world. The site located in Stanly County, North Carolina has yielded a small collection of body fossils, preserved fauna in the form of frond-like and sac-like organisms, as well as trace fossils, indirect evidence of life such as trackways, holdfasts, and microbial mats. In particular, unique species of Pterindimium and Swartpuntia have been discovered and named in the location. However, there are still unidentified fossils collected from Stanly County to be described, including those belonging to new species altogether. Herein we describe a new specimen derived from the Cid formation of North Carolina and compare it to existing fauna found in the area. The specimen itself, preserved in grey-green siltstone, is a collection of three small, closely spaced segmented structures. All are less than four and a half centimeters long and a centimeter wide. Although its linear ridges bear a resemblance to existing examples of Pterindimium and Swartpuntia, it lacks the size and curvature of both species. This leads us to believe that, despite this new species’ similarities to previously identified Stanly County specimens, it constitutes an entirely new frond-like or worm-like organism. Each new identification of an Ediacaran organism expands our knowledge of early life and diversification.

Major

Geology

Project Mentor(s)

Patricia G. Weaver, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

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Oct 27th, 6:00 PM Oct 27th, 6:40 PM

Enigmatic Ediacaran Body Fossil from the Albemarle Group, Carolina Terrane, Stanly County, North Carolina

Science Center, Bent Corridor

The Ediacaran period, lasting from about 600 to 550 million years ago, produced a handful of primitive fossils, today found in locations around the world. The site located in Stanly County, North Carolina has yielded a small collection of body fossils, preserved fauna in the form of frond-like and sac-like organisms, as well as trace fossils, indirect evidence of life such as trackways, holdfasts, and microbial mats. In particular, unique species of Pterindimium and Swartpuntia have been discovered and named in the location. However, there are still unidentified fossils collected from Stanly County to be described, including those belonging to new species altogether. Herein we describe a new specimen derived from the Cid formation of North Carolina and compare it to existing fauna found in the area. The specimen itself, preserved in grey-green siltstone, is a collection of three small, closely spaced segmented structures. All are less than four and a half centimeters long and a centimeter wide. Although its linear ridges bear a resemblance to existing examples of Pterindimium and Swartpuntia, it lacks the size and curvature of both species. This leads us to believe that, despite this new species’ similarities to previously identified Stanly County specimens, it constitutes an entirely new frond-like or worm-like organism. Each new identification of an Ediacaran organism expands our knowledge of early life and diversification.