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Precambrian Coelenterata from Australia, Africa and England


EXTENSIVE collecting has been carried out during the past two years by private collectors, the South Australian Museum, the University of Adelaide and Mr. R. C. Sprigg and associates, in flaggy quartzites near the base of the Cambrian at the old Ediacara mines, 280 miles due north of Adelaide, South Australia. Sprigg1 found and described as jellyfishes fossil remains of soft-bodied animals from this locality. The study of the abundant new material2, which comprises about 800 specimens, has led to the following results. (1) The fauna consists not only of the forms described by Sprigg as scyphozoan and hydrozoan medusæ, but also of Anthozoa representing the Octocorallia, of Annelida3, and of at least two entirely new types of soft-bodied invertebrates2,3. (2) Certainly one and possibly more elements of this fauna belong to genera described from the Kuibis Quartzite of the Nama System in South Africa, and one genus recently described4 from the Precambrian of Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, also occurs at Ediacara. (3) New stratigraphical and palæontological evidence indicates Late Precambrian age of the Ediacara fauna.

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  1. Sprigg, R. C., Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Aust., 71, 212 (1947); 73, 72 (1949).

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  2. Glaessner, M. F., and Daily, B., Rec. S. Aust. Mus., 13, Part 3 (in the press).

  3. Glaessner, M. F., Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Aust., 81, 185 (1958).

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  4. Ford, T. D., Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc., 31, 211 (1958).

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  5. Richter, R., Senckenb. Leth., 36, 243 (1955).

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  6. Daily, B., Twentieth Int. Geol. Congr. El Sist. Cambr., 2 (2), 91 (1956).

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GLAESSNER, M. Precambrian Coelenterata from Australia, Africa and England. Nature 183, 1472–1473 (1959).

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