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AuthorsDarroch, Simon AF
Gibson, Brandt M
Racicot, Rachel A
Dunn, Frances S
Gutarra Diaz, Susana V.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractPteridinium simplex is an iconic erniettomorph taxon best known from late Ediacaran successions in South Australia, Russia, and Namibia. Despite nearly 100 years of study, there remain fundamental questions surrounding the paleobiology and paleoecology of this organism, including its life position relative to the sediment–water interface, and how it fed and functioned within benthic communities. Here, we combine a redescription of specimens housed at the Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt with field observations of fossiliferous surfaces, to constrain the life habit of Pteridinium and gain insights into the character of benthic ecosystems shortly before the beginning of the Cambrian. We present paleontological and sedimentological evidence suggesting that Pteridinium was semi-infaunal and lived gregariously in aggregated communities, preferentially adopting an orientation with the long axis perpendicular to the prevailing current direction. Using computational fluid dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that this life habit could plausibly have led to suspended food particles settling within the organism's central cavity. This supports interpretation of Pteridinium as a macroscopic suspension feeder that functioned similarly to the coeval erniettomorph Ernietta, emblematic of a broader paleoecological shift toward benthic suspension-feeding strategies over the course of the latest Ediacaran. Finally, we discuss how this new reconstruction of Pteridinium provides information concerning its potential relationships with extant animal groups and state a case for reconstructing Pteridinium as a colonial metazoan.
CitationChange citation format Darroch, S., Gibson, B., Syversen, M., Rahman, I., Racicot, R., Dunn, F., . . . Laflamme, M. (2022). The life and times of Pteridinium simplex. Paleobiology, 1-30. doi:10.1017/pab.2022.2
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Item DescriptionCopyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Paleontological Society. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.