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A merciful death for the “earliest bilaterian,” Vernanimalcula.
Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Enheten för paleobiologi.
University of Bristol.
2012 (engelsk)Inngår i: Evolution and Development, ISSN 1520-541x, Vol. 14, nr 5, s. 421-427Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Fossils described as Vernanimalcula guizhouena, from the nearly 600 million-year-old Doushantuo Formation in South China, have been interpreted as the remains of bilaterian animals. As such they would represent the oldest putative record of bilaterian animals in Earth history, and they have been invoked in debate over this formative episode of early animal evolution. However, this interpretation is fallacious. We review the evidential basis of the biological interpretation of Vernanimalcula, concluding that the structures key to animal identity are effects of mineralization that do not represent biological tissues, and, furthermore, that it is not possible to derive its anatomical reconstruction on the basis of the available evidence. There is no evidential basis for interpreting Vernanimalcula as an animal, let alone a bilaterian. The conclusions of evolutionary studies that have relied upon the bilaterian interpretation of Vernanimalcula must be called into question.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2012. Vol. 14, nr 5, s. 421-427
Emneord [en]
Ediacaran, Problematicum, Diagenesis, Taphonomy, Protist, Metazoan, China
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Ekosystem och arthistoria
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-597DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2012.00562.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-597DiVA, id: diva2:741844
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council, 2007–4484, 2010–3929Tilgjengelig fra: 2014-08-29 Laget: 2014-08-28 Sist oppdatert: 2014-08-29

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