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Smothering of microbial mats... something for Ediacaran palaeontology to bear in mind

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microbialmats

Microbial mats have been widely invoked as being part of the mechanism by which the soft bodied Ediacara fauna are preserved. Consensus seems to be settling upon microbes growing upon the surface of dead ediacarans forming a kind of death mask that allows the unmineralized tissues to be exceptionally preserved.

This laboratory experiment turns that somewhat on its head.

By placing a piece of seaweed on a well established microbial mat we found that it was possible to smother the mat, and produce a negative impression on the matground surface in the shape of the seaweed.

Anemones wandering around in the Precambrian deep?

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A couple of years ago Alex Liu found some remarkable trails in the Mistaken Point Formation, just above the E surface which houses so many beautiful Ediacaran body fossils.

What is so remarkable about finding trails? 

Well authenticated trace fossils are not known from rocks of this age (565 Million years ago).

There is little evidence that Ediacaran macrofossils could move.

The engineering work of worms

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Palaios cover

"Every seashell has a story to tell if you're listening,
But underneath every shell there's a story as well if you've heard enough of the sea.
Then everything on the top will just suddenly stop seeming interesting,
So listen now to the sound of the things that are found under the ground."

(Metal Detector, They Might Be Giants)