Skip to main content
×
×
Home

New Ediacaran fossils from the uppermost Blueflower Formation, northwest Canada: disentangling biostratigraphy and paleoecology

  • Calla A. Carbone (a1), Guy M. Narbonne (a1), Francis A. Macdonald (a2) and Thomas H. Boag (a1)
Abstract

New Ediacaran fossil finds at Sekwi Brook occur in lower shoreface to offshore transition beds at the top of the Blueflower Formation, which are the most shallow-water facies and the youngest strata in which Ediacara-type fossils have been described from the Mackenzie Mountains of NW Canada. Newly discovered Ediacaran body fossils include two new tubular genera: Sekwitubulus annulatus new genus new species was a mm-diameter rigid annulated tube that was rooted to the sea bottom by a holdfast; Annulatubus flexuosus n. gen. n. sp. was a cm-diameter, flexible annulated tube. In conjunction with previously described large attachment discs representing the form-genus Aspidella and a single specimen of the dickinsonid Windermeria, these fossils define an assemblage that differs markedly from the rangeomorph-dominated deeper-water and older assemblages lower in the same section at Sekwi Brook. In contrast, trace fossils show little change upwards through the Blueflower Formation, at least in part reflecting their origin by microbial grazers on mats that formed during low-energy periods in both deep- and shallow-water environments. This implies that the stratigraphic succession of Ediacaran fossils in NW Canada and probably globally represents both evolutionary changes with age and the paleoecology of specific depositional settings.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Aitken, J.D., 1989, Uppermost Proterozoic formations in central Mackenzie Mountains,Northwest Territories, Canada: Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin, v. 368, p. 126.
Aitken, J.D., 1991, Two late Proterozoic glaciations, Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada: Geology, v. 19, p. 445448, doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(1991)019<0445:TLPGMM>2.3.CO;2.
Antcliffe, J.B., and Brasier, M.D., 2008, Charnia at 50: Developmental models for Ediacaran fronds: Palaeontology, v. 51, p. 1126, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2007.00738.x.
Babcock, L.E., Grunow, A.M., Sadowski, G.R., and Leslie, S.A., 2005, Corumbella, a Ediacaran-grade organism from the Late Neoproterozoic of Brazil: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 220, p. 718, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2003.01.001.
Billings, E., 1872, Fossils in Huronian rocks: Canadian Naturalist and Quarterly Journal of Science, v. 6, p. 478.
Brasier, M.D., and Antcliffe, J.B., 2009, Evolutionary relationships within the Avalonian Ediacara biota: new insights from laser analysis: Journal of the Geological Society, v. 166, p. 363384, doi: 10.1144/0016-76492008-011.
Buatois, L.A., Almond, J., and Germs, G.J.B., 2013, Environmental tolerance and range offset of Treptichnus pedum: Implications for the recognition of the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary: Geology, v. 41, p. 519522, doi: 10.1130/G33938.1.
Butterfield, N.J., 2007, Macroevolution and macroecology through deep time: Palaeontology, v. 50, p. 4155, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2006.00613.x.
Cai, Y., Schiffbauer, J.D., Hua, H., and Xiao, S., 2011, Morphology and paleoecology of the late Ediacaran tubular fossil Conotubus hemiannulatus from the Gaojiashan Lagerstätte of southern Shanxi Province, South China: Precambrian Research, v. 191, p. 4657, doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2011.09.002.
Calver, C.R., Crowley, J.L., Wingate, M.T.D., Evans, D.A.D., Raub, T.D., and Schmitz, M.D., 2013, Globally synchronous Marinoan deglaciation indicated by U-Pb geochronology of the Cottons Breccia, Tasmania, Australia: Geology, v. 41, p. 11271130, doi: 10.1130/G34568.1.
Carbone, C., and Narbonne, G.M., 2014, When life got smart: the evolution of behavioral complexity through the Ediacaran and early Cambrian of NW Canada: Journal of Paleontology, v. 88, p. 309330.
Chen, Z., Zhou, C., Xiao, S., Wang, W., Guan, C., Hua, H., and Yuan, X., 2014, New Ediacara fossils preserved in marine limestone and their ecological implications: Scientific Reports, v. 4, p. 110, doi:10.1038/srep04180.
Cohen, P.A., Bradley, A., Knoll, A.H., Grotzinger, J.P., Jensen, S., Abelson, J., Hand, K., Love, G., Metz, J., McLoughlin, N., Meister, P., Shepard, R., Tice, M., and Wilson, J.P., 2009, Tubular compression fossil from the Ediacaran Nama group, Namibia: Journal of Paleontology, v. 83, p. 110122.
Dalrymple, R.W., and Narbonne, G.M., 1996, Continental slope sedimentation in the Sheepbed Formation (Neoproterozoic, Windermere Supergroup), Mackenzie Mountains, NWT: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 33, p. 848862, doi: 10.1139/e96-064.
Dong, L., Xiao, S., Shen, B., Yuan, X., Yan, X., and Peng, Y., 2008, Restudy of the worm-like carbonaceous compression fossils Protoarenicola, Pararenicola and Sinosabellidites from early Neoproterozoic successions in North China: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 258, p. 138161, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.05.019.
Emmons, E., 1844. The Taconic System: Based on Observations in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island: Albany, Caroll and Cook, 68 p.
Erwin, D.H., Laflamme, M., Tweedt, S.M., Sperling, E.A., Pisani, D., and Peterson, K.J., 2011, The Cambrian conundrum: Early divergence and later ecological success in the early history of animals: Science, v. 334, p. 10911097, doi: 10.1126/science.1206375.
Fedonkin, M.A., 1985, Soft-bodied Vendian fauna: promorphological analysis, in Sokolov, B.S. and Ivanovskiy, A.B., eds., The Vendian System 1: Historic-Geological and Palaeontological Basis: Moscow, Nauka, p. 112116.
Fedonkin, M.A., Gehling, J.G., Grey, K., Narbonne, G.M., and Vickers-Rich, P., 2007. The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia: Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 328 p.
Ford, T.D., 1958, Pre-Cambrian fossils from Charnwood Forest: Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, v. 3, pt. 3, no. 2, p. 211217.
Gehling, J.G., and Droser, M., 2013, How well do fossil assemblages of the Ediacara Biota tell time?: Geology, v. 41, p. 447450, doi: 10.1130/G33881.1.
Gehling, J.G., and Narbonne, G.M., 2007, Spindle-shaped Ediacara fossils from the Mistaken Point assemblage, Avalon Zone, Newfoundland: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 44, p. 367387, doi: 10.1139/e07-003.
Gehling, J. G., Narbonne, G.M., and Anderson, M.M., 2000, The first named Ediacaran body fossil, Aspidella terranovica: Palaeontology, v. 43, p. 427456, doi: 10.1111/j.0031-0239.2000.00134.x.
Glaessner, M.F., and Wade, M., 1966, The Late Precambrian fossils from Ediacara, South Australia: Palaeontology, v. 9, p. 599628.
Grazhdankin, D.V., 2004, Patterns of distribution in the Ediacaran biotas: facies versus biogeography and evolution: Paleobiology, v. 30, p. 203221.
Grazhdankin, D., and Gerdes, G., 2007, Ediacaran microbial colonies: Lethaia, v. 40, p. 201210, doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2007.00025.x.
Grazhdankin, D.V., Balthasar, U., Nagovitsin, K.E., and Kochnev, B.B., 2008, Carbonate-hosted Avalon-type fossils in arctic Siberia: Geology, v. 36, p. 803806, doi: 10.1130/G24946A.1.
Hagadorn, J.W., and Waggoner, B., 2000, Ediacaran fossils from the Southwestern Great Basin, United States: Journal of Paleontology, v. 74, p. 349359.
Hahn, G., and Pflug, H.D., 1985, Die Cloudinidae n. fam., Kalk-Rohren aus dem Vendium und Unter-Kambrium: Senckenbergiana: Lethaea, v. 65, p. 413431.
Hahn, G., Hahn, R., Leonardos, O.H., Pflug, H.-D., and Walde, D.H.G., 1982, Körperlich erhaltene Scyphozoen-Reste aus dem Jungpräkambrium Brasiliens: Geologica et Palaeontologica, v. 16, p. 118.
Haldeman, S.S., 1840. Supplement to number one of “A monography of Limniades and other fresh-water univalve shells of North America,” containing descriptions of apparently new animals in different classes and the names and characters of subgenera in Paludina and Anculosa: Philadelphia, J. Dobson, 3 p.
Hofmann, H.J., 1981, First record of a Late Proterozoic faunal assemblage in the North American Cordillera: Lethaia, v. 14, p. 303310.
Hoffman, P.F., and Halverson, G.P., 2011, Neoproterozoic glacial record in the Mackenzie Mountains, northern Canadian Cordillera, in Arnaud, E., Halverson, G.P., and Shields-Zhou, G., eds., The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations Geological Society London, Memoirs 36, p. 397411.
Hofmann, H.J., and Mountjoy, E.W., 2010, Ediacaran body and trace fossils in Miette Group (Windermere Supergroup) near Salient Mountain, British Columbia, Canada: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 47, p. 13051325, doi: 10.1139/E10-070.
Hofmann, H.J., Fritz, W.H., and Narbonne, G.M., 1983, Ediacaran (Precambrian) fossils from the Wernecke Mountains, northwestern Canada: Science, v. 221, p. 455457, doi: 10.1126/science.221.4609.455.
Hofmann, H. J., O’Brien, S.J., and King, A.F., 2008, Ediacaran biota on Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada: Journal of Paleontology, v. 82, p. 136.
James, N.P., Narbonne, G.M., and Kyser, T.K., 2001, Late Neoproterozoic cap carbonates, Mackenzie Mountains, NW Canada: precipitation and global glacial meltdown: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 38, p. 12291262, doi: 10.1139/e01-046.
Jenkins, R.J.F., 1988, Ediacaran succession and fossil occurrences, in Jenkins, R.J.F., and Gravestock, D.I., (compilers) Proterozoic Ediacara fauna and Cambrian Archaeocyatha of the Flinders Ranges: South Australia, Fifth International Symposium on Fossil Cnidaria, Handbook for Excursion A2, p. 117.
Jenkins, R.J.F., 1989, The ‘supposed terminal Precambrian extinction event’ in relation to the Cnidaria: Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, v. 8, p. 307317.
Jenkins, R.J.F., and Gehling, J.G., 1978, A review of the frond-like fossils of the Ediacara assemblage: Records of the South Australian Museum, v. 17, p. 347359.
Jensen, S., Droser, M.L., and Gehling, J.G., 2006, A critical look at the Ediacaran trace fossil record, in Xiao, S., and Kaufman, J.K., eds., Neoproterozoic Geobiology and Paleobiology: Dordrecht, Springer, p. 115157.
Knoll, A.H., Grotzinger, J.P., Kaufman, A.J., and Kolosov, P., 1995, Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: An example from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia: Precambrian Research, v. 73, p. 251270, doi:10.1016/0301-9268(94)00081-2.
Laflamme, M., Narbonne, G.M., and Anderson, M.M., 2004, Morphometric analysis of the Ediacaran frond Charniodiscus from the Mistaken Point Formation, Newfoundland: Journal of Paleontology, v. 78, p. 827837.
Laflamme, M., Schiffbauer, J.D., Narbonne, G.M., and Briggs, D.E.G., 2011, Microbial biofilms and the preservation of the Ediacara biota: Lethaia, v. 44, p. 203213, doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2010.00235.x.
Liu, P., Xiao, S., Yin, C., Zhou, C., Gao, L., and Tang, F., 2008, Systematic description and phylogenetic affinity of tubular microfossils from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation and Weng-an, South China: Palaeontology, v. 51, p. 339366, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00762.x.
Macdonald, F. A., Strauss, J.V., Sperling, E.A., Halverson, G.P., Narbonne, G.M., Johnston, D.T., Kunzmann, M., Schrag, D.P., and Higgins, J.A., 2013, The stratigraphic relationship between the Shuram carbon isotope excursion, the oxygenation of Neoproterozoic oceans and the first appearance of the Ediacara biota and bilatitarian trace fossils in northwestern Canada: Chemical Geology, v. 362, p. 250272, doi: doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.05.032.
MacEachern, J.A., Bann, K.L., Pemberton, S.G., and Gringras, M.K., 2005, The ichnofacies paradigm: high-resolution paleonenvironmental interpretation of the rock record, in MacEachern, J.A., Bann, K.L., Gringras, M.K., and Pemberton, S.G., eds., Applied Ichnology SEPM Short Course Notes 52, p. 3168.
MacNaughton, R.B., and Narbonne, G.M., 1999, Evolution and ecology of Neoproterozoic-lower Cambrian trace fossils, NW Canada: Palaios, v. 14, p. 97115.
MacNaughton, R.B., Narbonne, G.M., and Dalrymple, R.W., 2000, Neoproterozoic slope deposits, Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada: Implications for passive-margin development and Ediacaran faunal ecology: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 37, p. 9971020, doi: 10.1139/e00-012.
Mángano, M.G., and Buatois, L.A., 2014, Decoupling of body-plan diversification and ecological structuring during the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition: evolutionary geobiological feedbacks: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London part B, p. 14712954, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0038.
Mapstone, N.B., and McIlroy, D., 2006, Ediacaran fossil preservation: Taphonomy and diagenesis of a discoid biota from Amadeus Basin, central Australia: Precambrian Research, v. 149, p. 126148, doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2006.05.007.
Meyer, M., Schiffbauer, J.D., Xiao, S., Cai, Y., and Hua, H., 2012, Taphonomy of the upper Ediacaran enigmatic ribbonlike fossil Shaaxilithes: Palaios, v. 27, p. 354372, doi: 10.2110/palo.2011.p11-098r.
Narbonne, G.M., 1994, New Ediacaran fossils from the Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada: Journal of Paleontology, v. 68, p. 411416.
Narbonne, G.M., 2005, The Ediacara Biota: Neoproterozoic origin of animals and their ecosystems: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 33, p. 421442, doi: 10.1146/annurev.earth.33.092203.122519.
Narbonne, G.M., 2011, Evolutionary biology: When life got big: Nature, v. 470, p. 339340, doi:10.1038/470339a.
Narbonne, G.M. and Aitken, J.D., 1990, Ediacaran fossils from the Sekwi Brook and Mackenzie Mountains, Yukon, Canada: Palaeontology, v. 33, p. 945980.
Narbonne, G.M. and Aitken, J.D., 1995, Neoproterozoic of the Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada: Precambrian Research, v. 73, p. 101121, doi:10.1016/0301-9268(94)00073-Z.
Narbonne, G.M. and Hofmann, H.J., 1987, Ediacaran biota of the Wernecke Mountains, Yukon, Canada: Palaeontology, v. 30, p. 647676.
Narbonne, G.M., Xiao, S., and Shields, G., 2012, Ediacaran Period, in Gradstein, F., Ogg, J., Schmidt, M.D., and Ogg, G., eds., Geologic Timescale 2012: New York, Elsevier, p. 413445, doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-59425-9.00018-4.
Narbonne, G.M., Laflamme, M., Trusler, P.W., Dalrymple, R.W., and Greentree, C., 2014, Deep-water Ediacaran fossils from Northwestern Canada: Taphonomy, ecology and evolution: Journal of Paleontology, v. 88, p. 207223.
Palij, V.M., Posti, E., and Fedonkin, M.A., 1979, Soft-bodied Metazoa and trace fossils of the Vendian and lower Cambrian, in Keller, B.M., and Rozanov, A.Y., eds., Paleontology of Upper Precambrian and Cambrian Deposits of East-European Platform Nauka, p. 4982.
Pemberton, S.G., MacEachern, J.A., and Frey, R.W., 1992, Trace fossils facies models: environmental and allostratigraphic significance, in Walker, R.G., and James, N.P., eds., Facies Models and Sea Level Changes: Toronto, Geological Association of Canada, p. 4772.
Pyle, L.J., Narbonne, G.M., James, N.P., Dalrymple, R.W., and Kaufman, A.J., 2004, Integrated Ediacaran chronostratigraphy, Wernecke Mountains, northwestern Canada: Precambrian Research, v. 132, p. 127, doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2004.01.004.
Roots, C.F., Martel, E., and MacNaughton, R., 2010, Geology of Sekwi Mountain, NTS 105P Southeast Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories:Northwest Territories Geoscience Office, NWT Open File 2010-16, 1 map, scale 1:100,000.
Ross, G.M., Parrish, R.R., Villeneuve, M.E., and Bowring, S.A., 1989. Tectonic subdivision and U-Pb geochronology of the crystalline basement of the Alberta Basin: Western Canada: Geological Survey of Canada, Open File Report 2103.
Sappenfield, A., Droser, M.L., and Gehling, J.G., 2011, Problematica, trace fossils and tubes within the Ediacara Member (South Australia): Redefining the Ediacaran trace fossil record one tube at a time: Journal of Paleontology, v. 85, p. 256265.
Seilacher, A., 1967, Bathymetry of trace fossils: Marine Geology, v. 5, p. 413428.
Seilacher, A., Buatois, L.A., and Mángano, M.G., 2005, Trace fossils in the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition: Behavioral diversification, ecological turnover and environmental shift: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 227, p. 323356, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2005.06.003.
Serezhnikova, E.A., 2013, Attachments of Vendian fossils: Preservation, morphology, morphotypes and possible morphogenesis: Paleontological Journal, v. 47, p. 231243, doi: 10.1134/S0031030113030088.
Shen, B., Xiao, S., Dong, L., Zhou, C., and Liu, J., 2007, Problematic macrofossils from Ediacaran successions in the North China and Chaidam blocks: implications for their evolutionary roots and biostratigraphic significance: Journal of Paleontology, v. 81, p. 13961411.
Shen, B., Dong, L., Xiao, S., and Kowalewski, M., 2008, The Avalon Explosion: Evolution of Ediacara morphospace: Science, v. 319, p. 8184, doi: 10.1126/science.1150279.
Skovsted, C.B., and Peel, J.S., 2011, Hyolithellus in life position from the lower Cambrian of North Greenland: Journal of Paleontology, v. 85, p. 3747.
Sokolov, B.S., 1965, The oldest Early Cambrian deposits and sabelliditids. All-Union Symposium on the Paleontology of the Precambrian and early Cambrian: Abstracts, Novosibirsk, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. [in Russian]. pp. 78-91.
Sokolov, B.S., 1967, Drevneyshiye pognofory [The oldest Pogonophora]: Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR, v. 177, no. 1, p. 201204. (English translation, p. 252–255).
Sprigg, R.C., 1947, Early Cambrian (?) jellyfishes from the Flinders Ranges, South Australia: Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, v. 71, p. 212224.
Sprigg, R.C., 1949, Early Cambrian ‘jellyfishes’ of Ediacara, South Australia and Mount John, Kimberley District, Western Australia: Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, v. 73, p. 7299.
Tarhan, L.G., Droser, M.L., and Gehling, J.G., 2010, Taphonomic controls on Ediacaran diversity: Uncovering the holdfast origin of morphologically variable enigmatic structures: Palaios, v. 25, p. 823830, doi: 10.2110/palo.2010.p10-074r.
Torell, O.M., 1870, Petrifacta Suecana Formationis Cambricae: Årskrift, Lunds Universitetshuset, v. 6, p. 114.
Vinn, O., and Zatoń, M., 2012, Inconsistencies in proposed annelid affinities of early biomineralized organism Cloudina (Ediacaran): structural and ontogenetic evidences: Carnets de Géologie [Note-books on Geology], Brest, Article 2012/03 (CG2012_A03) p. 3947.
Waggoner, B.M., 1999, Biogeographic analyses of the Ediacara biota: A conflict with paleotectonic reconstructions: Paleobiology, v. 25, p. 440458.
Waggoner, B., 2003, The Ediacaran biotas in space and time: Integrative and Comparative Biology, v. 43, p. 104113, doi: 10.1093/icb/43.1.104.
Webby, B.D., 1970, Late Precambrian trace fossils from New South Wales: Lethaia, v. 3, p. 79109.
Xiao, S., and Dong, L., 2006, On the morphological and ecological history of Proterozoic macroalgae, in Xiao, S., and Kaufman, A.J., eds., Neoproterozoic Geobiology and Paleobiology Springer, p. 5790.
Xiao, S., and Laflamme, M., 2009, On the eve of animal radiation: phylogeny, ecology and evolution of the Ediacara biota: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, v. 24, p. 3140.
Xiao, A., Yuan, X., Steiner, M., and Knoll, A.H., 2002, Macroscopic carbonaceous compressions in a terminal Proterozoic shale: a systematic reassessment of the Miaohe Biota, South China: Journal of Paleontology, v. 76, p. 347376.
Xiao, A., Droser, M., Gehling, J.G., Hughes, I.V., Wan, B., Chen, Z., and Yuan, X., 2013, Affirming life aquatic for the Ediacara biota in China and Australia: Geology, v. 41, p. 10951098, doi: 10.1130/G34691.1.
Xing, Y., Ding, Q., Luo, H., He, T., and Wang, Y., 1984, The Sinian-Cambrian Boundary of China: Bulletin of the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, v. 10, p. 1262.
Yanichevsky, M.E., 1926, Ob ostatkakh truchatykh chervej iz kembrijskoj Sinej Gliny [On remains of tube-dwelling worms from the Cambrian Blue Clay]: Ezhegodnik Vsesoyuznogo Paleontologicheskogo Obshchestva, v. 4, p. 99111.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed