Age of Neoproterozoic Bilatarian Body and Trace Fossils, White Sea, Russia: Implications for Metazoan Evolution

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Science  05 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5467, pp. 841-845
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5467.841

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A uranium-lead zircon age for a volcanic ash interstratified with fossil-bearing, shallow marine siliciclastic rocks in the Zimnie Gory section of the White Sea region indicates that a diverse assemblage of body and trace fossils occurred before 555.3 ± 0.3 million years ago. This age is a minimum for the oldest well-documented triploblastic bilaterian Kimberella. It also makes co-occurring trace fossils the oldest that are reliably dated. This determination of age implies that there is no simple relation between Ediacaran diversity and the carbon isotopic composition of Neoproterozoic seawater.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mwm{at}

  • Present address: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK.

  • Present address: Tectonics Special Research Centre, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6907, Australia.

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