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Unusual organic-walled microfossil from the late Neoproterozoic Nyborg Formation, Digermulen Peninsula, Arctic Norway
Department of Earth Science, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, USA.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
Tromsø Universitetsmuseum.
Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Museum of Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8769-3572
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2017 (English)In: ISECT 2017, 2017Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The late Neoproterozoic Nyborg Formation is exposed in the Tanafjord area, Finnmark, Arctic Norway, on Digermulen and Varanger Peninsulas. The succession is composed of ~400 m of interbedded shales, siltstone and purple to grey sandstone, deposited between Neoproterozoic low latitude glacial deposits. The Nyborg Fm. lies on top of the Smalfjord diamictite, and is overlain by the Mortensnes diamictite (the latter was attributed to both Marinoan (650-635 Ma) and Gaskiers (579 Ma) glaciations) and the Ediacaran-Cambrian Stáhpogieddi Formation. Thus, the Nyborg Fm. represents late Neoproterozoic, probably the last Cryogenian interglacial interval. Presented material was collected in 2014 by members of Digermulen Early Life Research Group, from organic-rich, grey-green shales and siltstones of the Nyborg Mbr. D, uppermost Nyborg Fm. between Árasulluokta and Guvssájohka valleys. Organic-walled microfossils were extracted from shale via standard palynological acetolysis in hydrofluoric acid, and studied via light and scanning electron microscopy. Microfossils from the Nyborg Fm. include Synsphaeridium-type aggregated cells, unbranched bacterial filaments (Polythrichoides and Siphonophycus), sphaeromorph and envelope-bearing acritarchs (leiosphaerids, Stictosphaeridium, Simia), and previously unrecognized aggregated tubular microfossils. These taxa are long-ranging, but common in glacial-interglacial units worldwide, and thus broadly corroborate the Cryogenian age of the Nyborg sediments. The novel fossil, up to 300 μm in size, is a parenchymatous meshwork of interconnected organic-walled tubes that terminate in cup-shaped apices 4-11 µm in diameter. Irregular tube clusters are truncated both in macerates and in thin sections, suggesting post mortem transport. Elemental EDXS analysis indicates that extracted meshwork microfossils are predominantly composed of carbonaceous material and also associated with small amounts of titanium and vanadium. Considering the branching and adjoined body plan of carbonaceous fossil, it was likely multicellular and of eukaryotic affinity. As such, it may represent an important step in the evolution of complex multicellularity and morphological complexity several million years before the appearance of Ediacaran organisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Digermulen, Ediacara, Nyborg Formation, organic-walled microfossils
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-337485OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-337485DiVA: diva2:1169797
Conference
International Symposium on the Ediacaran-Cambrian Transition, At Memorial University, St. Johns, Newfoundland
Available from: 2017-12-29 Created: 2017-12-29 Last updated: 2017-12-29

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