Ediacaran Corumbella has a cataphract calcareous skeleton with controlled biomineralization

iScience. 2022 Nov 25;25(12):105676. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105676. eCollection 2022 Dec 22.


Corumbella is a terminal Ediacaran tubular, benthic fossil of debated morphology, composition, and biological affinity. Here, we show that Corumbella had a biomineralized skeleton, with a bilayered construction of imbricated calcareous plates and rings (sclerites) yielding a cataphract organization, that enhanced flexibility. Each sclerite likely possessed a laminar microfabric with consistent crystallographic orientation, within an organic matrix. Original aragonitic mineralogy is supported by relict aragonite and elevated Sr (mean = ca. 11,800 ppm in central parts of sclerites). In sum, the presence of a polarisation axis, sclerites with a laminar microfabric, and a cataphract skeletal organization reminiscent of early Cambrian taxa, are all consistent with, but not necessarily indicative of, a bilaterian affinity. A cataphract skeleton with an inferred complex microstructure confirms the presence of controlled biomineralization in metazoans by the terminal Ediacaran, and offers insights into the evolution of development and ecology at the root of the ‘Cambrian radiation’.

PMID:36561886 | PMC:PMC9763863 | DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2022.105676


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