Agić, H, Högström, AES, Moczydłowska, M, Jensen, S, Palacios, T, Meinhold, G, Ebbestad, JOR, Taylor, WL and Høyberget, M (2019) Organically-preserved multicellular eukaryote from the early Ediacaran Nyborg Formation, Arctic Norway. Scientific Reports, 9. ISSN 2045-2322

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Eukaryotic multicellularity originated in the Mesoproterozoic Era and evolved multiple times since, yet early multicellular fossils are scarce until the terminal Neoproterozoic and often restricted to cases of exceptional preservation. Here we describe unusual organically-preserved fossils from mudrocks, that provide support for the presence of organisms with differentiated cells (potentially an epithelial layer) in the late Neoproterozoic. Cyathinema digermulense gen. et sp. nov. from the Nyborg Formation, Vestertana Group, Digermulen Peninsula in Arctic Norway, is a new carbonaceous organ-taxon which consists of stacked tubes with cup-shaped ends. It represents parts of a larger organism (multicellular eukaryote or a colony), likely with greater preservation potential than its other elements. Arrangement of open-ended tubes invites comparison with cells of an epithelial layer present in a variety of eukaryotic clades. This tissue may have benefitted the organism in: avoiding overgrowth, limiting fouling, reproduction, or water filtration. C. digermulense shares characteristics with extant and fossil groups including red algae and their fossils, demosponge larvae and putative sponge fossils, colonial protists, and nematophytes. Regardless of its precise affinity, C. digermulense was a complex and likely benthic marine eukaryote exhibiting cellular differentiation, and a rare occurrence of early multicellularity outside of Konservat-Lagerstätten.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Nature Publishing Group at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2019 09:26

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