Research NewsEvolutionary Biology

Animal Oddballs Brought Into the Ancestral Fold?

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Science  27 Oct 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5236, pp. 580-581
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5236.580


Paleontologists have long debated whether the bizarre Ediacara—blobs of living matter that inhabited Earth before the Cambrian Period's explosion of new species some 540 million years ago—were an evolutionary dead end or ancestors of later species. New dates for Ediacaran fossils, reported in this issue of Science (p. 598), lend support to the ancestral camp. The Ediacara didn'tdie out in the Precambrian, as many supposed, but persisted at least up to the beginning of the Cambrian.