News of the WeekEvolution

Stretching the Reign of Early Animals

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Science  05 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5467, pp. 789
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5467.789a

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On page 841 of this issue of Science, geochronologists report that they have determined the age of Ediacaran fauna, which preceded the Cambrian explosion of 543 million years ago, through highly precise uranium-lead radiometric dating of a layer of volcanic ash. The technique has produced a surprisingly early date that doubles the length of the late Ediacaran reign, revising a strange and mysterious chapter in the early history of life.