Haootia quadriformis n. gen., n. sp., interpreted as a muscular cnidarian impression from the Late Ediacaran period (approx. 560 Ma)

Alex G S Liu, Jack Matthews, Latha R. Menon, Duncan McIlroy, Martin D. Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

49 Citations (Scopus)
273 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Muscle tissue is a fundamentally eumetazoan attribute. The oldest evidence for fossilized muscular tissue before the Early Cambrian has hitherto remained moot, being reliant upon indirect evidence in the form of Late Ediacaran ichnofossils. We here report a candidate muscle-bearing organism, Haootia quadriformis n. gen., n. sp., from approximately 560 Ma strata in Newfoundland, Canada. This taxon exhibits sediment moulds of twisted, superimposed fibrous bundles arranged quadrilaterally, extending into four prominent bifurcating corner branches. Haootia is distinct from all previously published contemporaneous Ediacaran macrofossils in its symmetrically fibrous, rather than frondose, architecture. Its bundled fibres, morphology, and taphonomy compare well with the muscle fibres of fossil and extant Cnidaria, particularly the benthic Staurozoa. Haootia quadriformis thus potentially provides the earliest body fossil evidence for both metazoan musculature, and for Eumetazoa, in the geological record.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20141202
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume281
Issue number1793
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 05/08/2014

Keywords

  • Cnidaria
  • Ediacaran
  • Metazoan
  • Muscle
  • Newfoundland

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