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Early skeletal fossils

  • Stefan Bengtson (a1)

Abstract

The Precambrian-Cambrian transition saw the burgeoning of diverse skeletal organisms (“small shelly fossils”), represented in the fossil record by spicules, tubes, tests, conchs, shells, and a variety of sclerites and ossicles. Whereas calcareous biomineralization as such may have been facilitated by changes in ocean chemistry at this time, the utilization of biominerals in mineralized skeletons is a different process. The massive appearance of skeletons is most likely an epiphenomenon of the general radiation of body plans and tissues. The “choice” of biominerals (mainly calcium carbonates, calcium phosphates, and silica) may reflect the environmental conditions under which the particular skeleton first evolved.

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