The lower Cambrian in Antarctica

Cambrian-aged fossils in Antarctica have been known since the “heroic age” of Antarctic exploration. The first were archaeocyaths (a type of early sponge-like organism) dredged up from the Weddell Sea during the 1903-1904 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Archaeocyaths were also retrieved during both Earnest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition (1908-1909) and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1912)…

Microdictyon Morphometrics

Many of the marine animals that appeared during the Cambrian Explosion bore the first complex skeletons, including an assortment of shells, spines, cones and plates (Bengtson et al., 1990). A major difficulty with studying early Cambrian shelly fossils is that articulated specimens are exceptionally rare, making life reconstructions of these animals speculative at best. The…

Precambrian-Cambrian Transition in Mongolia

I am member of a team consisting of Swedish, Mongolian, Chinese and Australian geologists and palaeontologists targeting Precambrian-Cambrian rock successions in western Mongolia. The Precambrian-Cambrian transition is a critical interval of time, but unfortunately a major unconformity (either lack of deposition or erosion) often obscures this boundary (Peters and Gaines, 2012). In western Mongolia however,…

Small Carbonaceous Fossils

“Small carbonaceous fossils” (SCF) are a suite of microfossils composed of original, unmineralised cuticle that are extracted from fine siliciclastics. SCF are a key, but underappreciated element of early Cambrian biodiversity that have confirmed the very early origins of some modern animal groups. Ben Slater’s 2017 paper about early Cambrian SCF’s from Baltica Much of…

South Australian early Cambrian Chronostratigraphy

The lower Cambrian of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, is a vast archive of information regarding some of the earliest biomineralising taxa that evolved during the “Cambrian Explosion”. The Cambrian Explosion is captured in astonishing clarity in East Gondwana, which was a major evolutionary epicentre during this radiation. The lower Cambrian of South Australia has…