Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Evolutionary biology

When life got big

Deposits in China dating to about 600 million years ago contain carbon compressions of algae and other organisms. The fossils provide a new window into the early evolution of complex multicellular life. See Letter p.390

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Four biological groups that achieved macroscopic size and complex morphology during the Ediacaran.

References

  1. Butterfield, N. J. Palaeontology 50, 41–55 (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Narbonne, G. M. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 33, 421–442 (2005).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Yuan, X., Chen, Z., Xiao, S., Zhou, C. & Hua, H. Nature 470, 390–393 (2011).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Condon, D. et al. Science 308, 95–98 (2005).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Canfield, D. E., Poulton, S. W. & Narbonne, G. M. Science 315, 92–95 (2007).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Narbonne, G. M. Science 328, 53–54 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Sperling, E. A., Peterson, K. J. & Laflamme, M. Geobiology 9, 24–33 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Zhu, M., Gehling, J. G., Xiao, S., Zhao, Y. & Droser, M. L. Geology 36, 867–870 (2008).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Shen, Y., Zhang, T. & Hoffman, P. F. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 7376–7381 (2008).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Li, C. et al. Science 328, 80–83 (2010).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guy M. Narbonne.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Narbonne, G. When life got big. Nature 470, 339–340 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/470339a

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/470339a

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing