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Ediacara were among the first multicellular animals of the Earth, but the descendants in the modern fauna are not.
A new study sheds light on the lifestyle and diet of the representatives of the ediacaran biota. It turned out that they lived in shallow seas. The achievement is in the scientific journal Communications a team led by Andrew Becker (Andrey Bekker), University of California, riverside.
Of all the known communities, including macroscopic animals, the ediacaran is the second oldest. It existed 635-541 a million years ago. Ancient of the Hainan biota, which appeared 850 million years ago.
There are thousands of instances of “ediacara” found in different parts of the world from Ukraine to Australia and Namibia. But the environment in which they lived these creatures? What was their diet? All this remained a mystery to paleontologists.
The team of Becker (by the way, the graduate of the Leningrad Mining University) researched the breed age 575-541 a million years old, fossil remains of representatives of the ediacaran biota. Geographically they came from different regions of the continent Venosafe (also known as Baltica). In that era the Baltic States, Scandinavia, the European part of Russia and Ukraine.
Scholars interested in the biomarkers, i.e. chemical substances, issuing the former presence of living organisms. In particular, the authors measured the concentration of carbon isotope 13C and nitrogen 15N. They also analyzed the content of such organic substances as Japan (hopane) and steran.
Similar "chemical library" can tell a lot of paleontologists. For example, if an animal ate prokaryotes, the pattern will be one, and if eukaryotes – other. The inhabitants of the depths of the ocean will leave a mark in order to distinguish them from the inhabitants of shallow waters. You can get a variety of other information.
As explained in the press release of the study, the authors turned to the next picture. “Adjacency” dwelt on the shelf of the ancient continent. Recall that the continental shelf is the area (usually the edge) of the continent. The structure of the crust is a continent, but actually the bottom of the sea. For example, all the waters of the modern North sea is a shelf.
Sheltered creatures offshore were quite extensive: they stretched for hundreds of kilometers. These areas were poor in algae, and the main photosynthetically there was bacteria. These protozoa, as well as the suspended and dissolved organic matter, apparently, and ate “ediacara”. It is in the General rather poor food resource, but creatures, Which size is usually measured in centimeters, enough.
Interestingly, the Becker team found in samples of the clear lack of biomarkers. Apparently, the representatives of the ediacaran biota occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied occupied
Note that this pattern is consistent with known data about the anatomy "ediacaran" who has failed to detect any signs of a mouth. To absorb dissolved organics and bacteria directly from the skin. This method of power has a large surface area. However, the anatomy of these creatures that had no hard skeleton, it is difficult to explore "in stone").
Note finally that the representatives of the ediacaran biota, according to most experts, have not left descendants. It was one of the earliest and barren "experiments" the evolution of the creation of multicellular animals. For that the ediacaran fauna has earned the apt nickname "drafts of the Lord God". However, some paleontologists believe that these creatures were the ancestors of the chordates, and that means including people.
Recall that "News.Science" (nauka.vesti.ru) has previously written about these mysterious creatures. For example, we talked about the ediacaran fossils, the former a subject of controversy for 70 years. We also talked about the mushrooms, which claims to be the oldest multicellular organisms.