Proterozoic Modular Biomineralized Metazoan from the Nama Group, Namibia

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2383-2386
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071599

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We describe a Proterozoic, fully biomineralized metazoan from the Omkyk Member (∼549 million years before the present) of the northern Nama Group, Namibia. Namapoikia rietoogensis gen. et sp. nov. is up to 1 meter in diameter and bears a complex and robust biomineralized skeleton; it probably represents a cnidarian or poriferan. Namapoikia encrusts perpendicular to the walls of vertical synsedimentary fissures in microbial reefs. This finding implies that large, modular metazoans with biologically controlled mineralization appeared some 15 million years earlier than previously documented.

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