Friday, November 18, 2016

Ernietta from the late Edicaran NeoProterozoic Namibia was Weirdly Assymetrical




Ernietta plateauensis Pflug, 1966 is the type species of the Erniettomorpha, an extinct clade of Ediacaran life. It was likely a gregarious, partially infaunal organism. Despite its ecological and taxonomic significance, there has not been an in-depth systematic description in the literature since the original description fell out of use. A newly discovered field site on Farm Aar in southern Namibia has yielded dozens of specimens buried in original life position. Mudstone and sandstone features associated with the fossils indicate that organisms were buried while still exposed to the water column rather than deposited in a flow event. Ernietta plateauensis was a sac-shaped erniettomorph with a body wall constructed from a double layer of tubes. It possessed an equatorial seam lying perpendicular to the tubes. The body is asymmetrical on either side of this seam. The tubes change direction along the body length and appear to be constricted together in the dorsal part of the organism.

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