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Paleobiology and Morphology of the Ediacaran Biota.

            The Ediacaran Period was named after the Ediacara Hills of South Australia, is the last geological period of the Neoproterozoic Era and of the Proterozoic Eon, immediately preceding the Cambrian Period, the first period of the Paleozoic Era. (1) In this essay I intend to encompass what derived the biota. Furthermore I wish to discuss the paleoenvironment and morphological variations, which lead to the ultimate survival, or extinction of taxonomic lineages of Ediacaran biota. I aim to give a general overview of the Ediacaran Period and insight key fossils of soft bodied organisms of the era. This essay focuses on two places of significance to the Ediracarian period; Charnia Woods in central England, and the Ediacara Hills of South Australia.
             The fossil record from this period is sparse, as more easily fossilized hard-shelled animals had yet to evolve. The Ediacaran biota includes the oldest definite multicellular organisms with tissues, and the most common types resemble segmented worms, fronds, disks, or immobile bags. However this biota bear little resemblance to modern species, and their relationship even with the later life forms of the Cambrian explosion is rather difficult to interpret. This was explored David Attenborough's documentary on BBC called First Life. The Ediacaran biota is not found in a restricted environment subject to unusual local conditions: they were a global phenomenon. The processes that were operating must have been systemic and worldwide. There was something very different about the Ediacaran Period that permitted these delicate creatures to be left behind and it is thought that the fossils were preserved by virtue of rapid covering by ash or sand, trapping them against the mud or microbial mats on which they lived.
             The Ediacaran biota exhibited a vast range of morphological characteristics. Size ranged from millimeters to meters; complexity from "blob-like" to intricate; rigidity from sturdy and resistant to jelly-soft.

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