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Article: Underground Vendobionta from Namibia

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 45
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2002
Page(s): 57 78
Author(s): Dmitri Grazhdankin and Adolph Seilacher
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How to Cite

GRAZHDANKIN, D., SEILACHER, A. 2002. Underground Vendobionta from Namibia. Palaeontology45, 1, 57–78.

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The late Precambrian fossils from Namibia have generally been regarded as soft-bodied organisms whose three-dimensional preservation resulted from smothering in fluidized sand. The sedimentological context of Pteridinium and Namalia within a sandstone bed, however, allows us to distinguish between two taphocoenoses: (1) winnowed, laterally collapsed, current-transported specimens accumulated as a lag deposit of turbidite-like flows, and (2) specimens 'floating' in the top part of an event bed with their vanes extending upwards to the upper bedding surface. The second taphocoenosis is interpreted as an in situ preserved 'infaunal' community. The immobile underground life habit and the bizarre modes of growth of Pteridinium and Namalia do not fit any extinct or modern group of multicellular organisms. Similar statements can be made for Ernietta and Rangea, thus reviving the Vendobionta hypothesis.
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