Exceptional Preservation of Fossils in an Upper Proterozoic Shale
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Butterfield, Nicholas J.
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CitationButterfield, Nicholas J., Andrew H. Knoll, and Keene Swett. 1988. Exceptional preservation of fossils in an Upper Proterozoic shale. Nature 334(6181): 424-427.
AbstractLate Proterozoic organisms must have been diverse and widely distributed, but in general their fossil record is both taxonomically and environmentally limited. Exceptional preservation of Proterozoic fossils is not unknown, but it is usually associated with silicified carbonates from restricted peritidal or playa lake environments. We report here an exceptionally well preserved and distinctive assemblage of Lake Proterozoic fossils from subtidal marine shales. In additional to the sphaeromorphic acritarchs and cyanobacterial sheaths routinely preserved in Proterozoic rocks, this assemblage includes multicellular algae ('seaweeds'), a diverse assortment of morphologically complex protistan vesicles, and probable heterotrophic bacteria. Thus, it provides one of the clearest and most taxonomically varied views of Proterozoic life yet reported.
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