Geological Magazine

A biota of Ediacaran aspect from lower Cambrian strata on the Digermul Peninsula, Arctic Norway

T. P. CRIMES a1 and D. McILROY a1c1 1
a1 Department of Earth Sciences, Liverpool University, Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK


Three elements of the ‘Ediacara fauna’ are described from lower Cambrian strata on the Digermul Peninsula, Norway. Nimbia occlusa Fedonkin, 1980 and Tirasiana sp. occur approximately 80 m above the base of the Lower Breivik Member, which approximately coincides with the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian boundary. A specimen of Cyclomedusa sp. has also been found in the Lower Duolbasgaissa Member about 600 m above the boundary, in rocks of trilobite-bearing age.

These discoveries add to a growing body of evidence that some elements of the dominantly Neoproterozoic Ediacara fauna continue into the Phanerozoic, thereby diminishing the scope of a possible late Neoproterozoic mass-extinction event.

The taxa described here, particularly Nimbia and Cyclomedusa, also occur at many other localities within Neoproterozoic strata and, in common with other elements of the Ediacara fauna, display remarkable morphological variation. Some of this diversity in form is probably caused by environmental and preservational factors. The possibility that it may, at least in part, reflect an inability of these early life forms to replicate faithfully their genes during reproduction should, however, not be overlooked.

(Received February 5 1999)
(Accepted June 24 1999)

c1 Author for correspondence:


1 Formerly at: Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PR, UK.