Reading the Fossil Record: Look at the Rocks – #365papers – 2017 – 86

#365papers for March 27, 2017

Matthews, Liu, and McIlroy, 2017, Post-fossilization processes and their implications for understanding Ediacaran macrofossil assemblages; in Brasier, McIlroy, and McLoughlin, eds, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier: Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448, 19 pp.

What’s it about?

Ediacaran fossils represent the oldest fossils of multicellular life, from between 580 and 541 million years ago (the Ediacaran Period). This paper discusses how the preservation of the fossils – the rock processes of deposition, erosion, deformation etc – affect our interpretations of the organisms.

Why does it matter?

We want to be sure that when we draw conclusions about the lives of organisms that lived half a billion years ago that we remove as much bias as possible. Differential preservation simply due to geological processes must be understood so we don’t make mistakes.

Why did I read this?

It’s geology. It’s paleontology. It’s just been published, and it sounded interesting.


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