UCL Earth Sciences

Reef built by animals 550 million years ago discovered.

6 July 2014

The animals – called Cloudina – were the first in the world to have a hard shell and are believed to have built the reefs to protect themselves from predators, or to get a competitive advantage in acquiring food or living space.

new-fossil

The study, published in Science, sheds light on how one of Earth’s oldest reefs, now located on dry land in Namibia, was formed by the tiny, filter-feeding creatures during the Ediacaran period.

UCL, Earth Sciences PhD researcher Rosalie Tostevin (Institute for Earth and Planetary Sciences), co-author of the study led by the University of Edinburgh, said: “We discovered our fossils while camping wild on a farm called Driedoornvlagte – a location visited by many geologists and palaeontologists for the Nama Group of rocks which contain the first skeletal animals in the rock record.

“We ended up taking a different route to the field guide and exploring some parts of the rock formation that are rarely visited. In doing so, we spotted some unusual looking groups of fossils and as we explored further, we started to see more and more examples, which was extremely exciting as we knew we’d found something special.”

We ended up taking a different route to the field guide and exploring some parts of the rock formation that are rarely visited. In doing so, we spotted some unusual looking groups of fossils and as we explored further, we started to see more and more examples, which was extremely exciting as we knew we’d found something special.

Read the full article at UCL News.