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A Cloudina-like fossil with evidence of asexual reproduction from the lowest Cambrian, South China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 January 2017

JIAN HAN
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
YAOPING CAI*
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
JAMES D. SCHIFFBAUER
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri, 101 Geology Building, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA
HONG HUA
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
XING WANG
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
XIAOGUANG YANG
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
KENTARO UESUGI
Affiliation:
Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), 1-1-1 Kouto, Sayo-cho, Sayo-gun, Hyogo, Japan
TSUYOSHI KOMIYA
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Science and Astronomy, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 153–8902, Japan
JIE SUN
Affiliation:
Early Life Institute and Department of Geology and State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, No. 229 Taibai Road, Xi'an 710069, China
*
Author for correspondence: yaopingcai@nwu.edu.cn

Abstract

The earliest fossil record of animal biomineralization occurs in the latest Ediacaran Period (c. 550 Ma). Cloudina and Sinotubulites are two important tubular taxa among these earliest skeletal fossils. The evolutionary fate of Cloudina-type fossils across the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition, however, remains poorly understood. Here we report a multi-layered tubular microfossil Feiyanella manica gen. et sp. nov. from a phosphorite interval of the lowest Cambrian Kuanchuanpu Formation, southern Shaanxi Province, South China. This newly discovered fossil is a conical tube with a ‘funnel-in-funnel’ construction, showing profound morphological similarities to Cloudina and Conotubus. On the other hand, the outer few layers, and particularly the outermost layer, of Feiyanella tubes are regularly to irregularly corrugated, a feature strikingly similar to the variably folded/wrinkled tube walls of Sinotubulites. The Feiyanella tubes additionally exhibit two orders of dichotomous branching, similar to branching structures reported occasionally in Cloudina and possibly indicative of asexual reproduction. Owing to broad similarities in tube morphology, tube wall construction and features presumably indicative of asexual reproduction, Cloudina, Conotubus, Sinotubulites and the here described Feiyanella may thus constitute a monophyletic group traversing the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. The tube construction and palaeoecological strategy of Feiyanella putatively indicate evolutionary continuity in morphology and palaeoecology of benthic metazoan communities across the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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