Dawn of Animal Life
|Support The Museum|
|Oldest Complex Animal Fossils|
Newly discovered fronds of the Ediacaran index fossil Charnia from the Drook Formation of southeastern Newfoundland are the oldest large, architecturally complex fossils known anywhere. Research published in the January issue of Geology by Queen's professor Dr Guy Narbonne and South Australia Museum paleontologist Dr Jim Gehling (previously Queen's PostDoctoral Fellow) focused world-wide attention on these fossils in early 2003.
Fronds up to nearly 2 metres in length occur in the upper beds of the Drook Formation, 1500m stratigraphically below the approximately 565 million year old Mistaken Point fossils. Their position above the glacial marine rocks of the Gaskiers Formation (dated at 595 million years) give paleontologists an important first look at life just after the "Snowball Earth" glaciations (the largest glacial event recorded in the Earth's geological record).
(Figure by Dr. J.Gehling)