Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Reconstructing Rangea: new discoveries from the Ediacaran of southern Namibia

  • Patricia Vickers-Rich (a1), Andrey Yu. Ivantsov (a2), Peter W. Trusler (a1), Guy M. Narbonne (a3), Mike Hall (a1), Siobhan A. Wilson (a1), Carolyn Greentree (a1), Mikhail A. Fedonkin (a2), David A. Elliott (a1), Karl H. Hoffmann (a4) and Gabi I. C. Schneider (a4)...

Abstract

Rangea is the type genus of the Rangeomorpha, an extinct clade near the base of the evolutionary tree of large, complex organisms which prospered during the late Neoproterozoic. It represents an iconic Ediacaran taxon, but the relatively few specimens previously known significantly hindered an accurate reconstruction. Discovery of more than 100 specimens of Rangea in two gutter casts recovered from Farm Aar in southern Namibia significantly expands this data set, and the well preserved internal and external features on these specimens permit new interpretations of Rangea morphology and lifestyle. Internal structures of Rangea consist of a hexaradial axial bulb that passes into an axial stalk extending the length of the fossil. The axial bulb is typically filled with sediment, which becomes increasingly loosely packed and porous distally, with the end of the stalk typically preserved as an empty, cylindrical cone. This length of the axial structure forms the structural foundation for six vanes arranged radially around the axis, with each vane consisting of a bilaminar sheet composed of a repetitive pattern of elements exhibiting at least three orders of self-similar branching. Rangea was probably an epibenthic frond that rested upright on the sea bottom, and all known fossil specimens were transported prior to their final burial in storm deposits.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abelson, J., Metz, J. M., McLoughlin, N., Cohen, P. A., and Tice, M. M. 2012. Deep water incised valley deposits at the Proterozoic–Cambrian boundary in southern Namibia contain abundant Treptichnus pedum. Palaios, 27:252273.
Bladh, K. W. 1982. The formation of goethite, jarosite, and alunite during the weathering of sulfide-bearing felsic rocks. Economic Geology, 77:176184.
Bouougri, E. H., Porada, H., Weber, K., and Reitner, J. 2011. Sedimentology and palaeoecology of Ernietta-bearing Ediacaran deposits in southern Namibia: implications for infaunal vendobiont communities. Advances in Stromatolite Geobiology. Lecture notes in Earth Sciences, 313:473506.
Brasier, M. D. 1979. The Cambrian radiation event, p. 103159. InHouse, M. R.(ed.), The Origin of Major Invertebrate Groups. Systematics Association Special Volume No. 12. Academic Press, London.
Brasier, M. D. and Antcliffe, J. 2004. Decoding the Ediacaran enigma. Science, 305:11151117.
Brasier, M. D. and Antcliffe, J. 2009. Evolutionary relationships within the Avalonian Ediacara biota: new insights from laser analysis. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 166:363384.
Cerrano, C., Calcinai, B., Gioia De Camillo, C., Valisano, L., and Bavestrello, G. 2007. How and why do sponges incorporate foreign material? Strategies in Porifera, p. 239246. InCustódio, M. R., Lôbo-Hajdu, G., Hajdu, E., and Muricy, G.(eds.), Porifera Research: Biodiversity, Innovation and Sustainability. Série Livros 28. Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro.
Chia, F. S. 1973. Sand dollar: a weight belt for the juvenile. Science, 181:7374.
Dzik, J. 2002. Possible ctenophoran affinities of the Precambrian “sea-pen” Rangea. Journal of Morphology, 252:315334.
Elliott, D. A., Vickers-Rich, P., Trusler, P. W., and Hall, M. 2011. New evidence on the taphonomic context of the Ediacaran Pteridinium. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 56:641650.
Erwin, D. H., Laflamme, M., Tweedt, S. M., Sperling, E. A., Pisani, D., and Peterson, K. J. 2011. The Cambrian conundrum: early divergence and later ecological success in the early history of animals. Science, 334:10911097.
Flude, L. I. and Narbonne, G. M. 2008. Taphonomy and ontogeny of a multibranched Ediacaran fossil: Bradgatia from the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 45:10951109.
Gehling, J. G. 1991. The case for Ediacaran roots to a metazoan tree. Geological Society of India Memoir, 20:181224.
Gehling, J. G. 1999. Microbial mats in terminal Neoproterozoic siliciclastics: Ediacaran death masks. Palaios, 14:4057.
Gehling, J. G. and Narbonne, G. M. 2007. Spindle-shaped fossils from the Mistaken Point assemblage, Avalon Zone, Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 44:367387.
Germs, G. J. B. 1972. The stratigraphy and palaeontology of the lower Nama Group, South West Africa. Precambrian Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Bulletin 12, 1250.
Germs, G. J. B. 1973. A reinterpretation of Rangea schneiderhoehni and the discovery of a related new fossil from the Nama Group, South West Africa. Lethaia, 6:19.
Germs, G. J. B. 1983. Implications of a sedimentary facies and depositional analysis of the Nama Group in South West Africa, Namibia. Geological Society of South Africa, Special Publication, 11:89114.
Gooday, A. J., Aranda Da Silva, A., and Pawlowski, J. 2011. Xenophyophores (Rhizaria, Foraminifera) from the Nazare'Canyon (Portuguese margin, NE Atlantic). Deep Sea Reasearch II, 58:24012419.
Grazhdankin, D. V. 2004. Patterns of distribution in the Ediacaran biotas: facies versus biogeography and evolution. Paleobiology, 30:203221.
Grazhdankin, D. V. and Seilacher, A. 2002. Underground Vendobionta from Namibia. Palaeontology, 45:5778.
Grazhdankin, D. V. and Seilacher, A. 2005. A re-examination of the Nama-type Vendian organism Rangea schneiderhoehni. Geological Magazine, 142:571582.
Grotzinger, J. P., Bowring, S. A., Saylor, B. Z., and Kaufman, A. J. 1995. Biostratigraphic and geochronologic constraints on early animal evolution. Science, 270:598.
Grotzinger, J. P. and Miller, R. 2008. The Nama Group, p. 13.22913.272. InMiller, R.(ed.), The Geology of Namibia. Geological Society of Namibia Special Publication, 2.
Gürich, G. 1930. Die bislang altesten Spuren von Organismen in Sudafrika. International Geological Congress (XV), Pretoria, Union of South Africa, Die altesten Fossilien Sud-Afrikas, 2:670680.
Gürich, G. 1933. Die Kuibis-Fossilien der Nama-Formation von Sudwestafrika. Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 15:137154.
Haywick, D. W. and Mueller, E. M. 1997. Sediment retention in encrusting Palythoa sp.—a biological twist to a geological process. Coral Reefs, 16:3946.
Jambor, J. L. and Blowes, D. W. 1998. Theory and applications of mineralogy in environmental studies of sulfide-bearing mine wastes, p. 367401. InCabri, L. J. and Vaughan, D. J.(eds.), Modern Approaches to Ore and Environmental Mineralogy, 27. Mineralogical Association of Canada Short Course Series, Mineralogical Association of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
Jenkins, R. J. F. 1985. The enigmatic Ediacaran (Late Precambrian) genus Rangea and related forms. Paleobiology, 11:336355.
Laflamme, M. and Narbonne, G. M. 2008a. Ediacaran fronds. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 258:162179.
Laflamme, M. and Narbonne, G. M. 2008b. Competition in a Precambrian world: palaeoecology of Ediacaran fronds. Geology Today, 24:182187.
Laflamme, M., Xiao, S., and Kowalewski, M. 2009. Osmotrophy in modular Ediacaran organisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of U.S.A., 106:1443814443.
Lottermoser, B. G. 2010. Mine Wastes: Characterization, Treatment and Environmental Impacts (third edition). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 400p.
Mooi, R. and Chen, C. P. 1996. Weight belts, diverticula, and the phylogeny of the sand dollars. Bulletin of Marine Science, 58:186195.
Myrow, P. M. 1992. Pot and gutter casts from the Chapel Island Formation, southeast Newfoundland. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 62:9921007.
Myrow, P. M. and Southard, J. B. 1996. Tempestite deposition. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 66:875887.
Narbonne, G. M. 2004. Modular construction of early Ediacaran complex life forms. Science, 305:11411144.
Narbonne, G. M., Saylor, B. Z., and Grotzinger, J. P. 1997. The youngest Ediacaran fossils from southern Africa. Journal of Paleontology, 71:953969.
Narbonne, G. M., Laflamme, M., Greentree, C., and Trusler, P. 2009. Reconstructing a lost world: Ediacaran rangeomorphs from Spaniard's Bay, Newfoundland. Journal of Paleontology, 83:503523.
Narbonne, G.M., Xiao, S., and Shields, G. 2012. The Ediacaran Period, p. 427449. InGradstein, F., Ogg, J., Schmitz, M. D., and Ogg, G.(eds), Geologic Timescale 2012. Elsevier, Boston.
Pflüg, H. D. 1970. Zur fauna der Nama-Schichten in Südwest-Afrika; II. Rangeidae, Bau und systematische Zugehörigkeit. Palaeontographica Abteilung A, 135:198231.
Pflüg, H. D. 1972. Systematik der jung-präkambrischen Petalonamae. Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 46:5667.
Plint, A. G. 2010. Wave- and storm-dominated shoreline and shallow-marine systems, p. 167199. InJames, N. P. and Dalrymple, R. W.(eds.), Facies Models 4. Geological Association of Canada.
Reimer, J. D., Nakachi, S., Hirose, M., and Shinji, H. 2010. Using hydrofluoric acid for morphological investigations of Zoanthids (Cnidaria: Anthozoa): a critical assessment of methodology and necessity. Marine Biotechnology, 12:605617.
Richter, R. 1955. Die ältesten Fossilien Süd-Afrikas. Senckenbergiana Lethaea, 36:243289.
Savazzi, E. 2007. A new reconstruction of Protolyellia (Early Cambrian psammocoral), p. 339353. InVickers-Rich, P. and Komarower, P.(eds.), The Rise and Fall of the Ediacaran Biota. Geological Society of London Special Publication 286.
Saylor, B. Z., Grotzinger, J. P., and Germs, G. J. B. 1995. Sequence stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Neoproterozoic Kuibis and Schwarzrand subgroups (Nama Group), southwestern Namibia. Precambrian Research, 73:153172.
Saylor, B. Z., Kaufman, A. J., Grotzinger, J. P., and Urban, F. 1998. A composite reference section for terminal Proterozoic strata of southern Namibia. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 68:12231235.
Saylor, B. Z., Poling, J. M., and Huff, W. D. 2005. Stratigraphic and chemical correlation of volcanic ash beds in the terminal Proterozoic Nama Group, Namibia. Geological Magazine, 142:519538.
Schmitz, M. D. 2012. Appendix 2—Radiometric ages used in GTS2012, p. 10451082. InGradstein, F., Ogg, J., Schmitz, M. D., and Ogg, G.(eds.), The Geologic Time Scale 2012. Elsevier, Boston.
Seilacher, A. 1979. Constructional morphology of sand dollars. Paleobiology, 5:191221.
Seilacher, A. 1992. Vendobionta and Psammocorallia: lost constructions of Precambrian evolution. The Journal of the Geological Society of London, 149:607614.
Seilacher, A. 1999. Biomat-related lifestyles in the Precambrian. Palaios, 14:8693.
Seilacher, A. 2007. The nature of Vendobionts. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 286 (1):387397.
Tendal, O. S. 1972. A monography of the Xenophyophoria (Rhizopodea, Protozoa). Galathea Report, 12:799.
Vickers-Rich, P. 2007. The Nama fauna of southern Africa, p. 6988. InFedonkin, M. A., Gehling, J. G., Grey, K., Narbonne, G. M., and Vickers-Rich, P.(eds.), The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Wood, D. A., Dalrymple, R. W., Narbonne, G. M., Gehling, J. G., and Clapham, M. E. 2003. Paleoenvironmental analysis of the late Neoproterozoic Mistaken Point and Trepassey formations, southeastern Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 40:13751391.
Xiao, S. and Laflamme, M. 2009. On the eve of animal radiation: phylogeny, ecology and evolution of the Ediacara biota. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24:3140.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed