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Ediacaran dinner party contained good to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows



  Ediacaran Dinner Party featured good eating, adequate sanitation, computer model shows
Artistic reconstruction of a gregarious community of Ernietta. Credit: Dave Mazierski

The Earth's first dinner party was not impressive, only a lot of soft organic organisms were lowered into sediment on the seabed and divided into scrap of organic matter hanging in the water around them.

But sort out how 570-540 million year-old enigmatic beings support the argument that they behaved as more modern animals and evolved into forms that helped them feed.

Paleontologist Simon AF Darroch, assistant professor of soil and environmental science at Vanderbilt University and Brandt M. Gibson, Ph.D. students developed a series of simulators for calculating fluid dynamics that showed that not only were Ediacara biota-suspension feeds, which precipitated nutrients in deep cavities but that they focused on flow streams to enhance eddies when water moved around them. This meant that more food was sent into each creature cavity.

"They increased the amount of nutrients that went from individual to individual, and they also exported the waste downstream and away from what did it," Gibson said. "So it was a good dinner party because they had to eat a lot and didn't have to sit in their own waste."

The research is described in a title entitled "Gregory suspension feeding in a modular Ediacaran organism" which appears June 1

9 in the journal Science Advances .

The team used fossil evidence gathered near Bethanie, Namibia, and plans to return to the African nation this summer to study and photograph other samples. Their latest work is based on Darroch's findings last year, that Ediacara biota formed complex communities tens of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion.

  •   Ediacaran dinner party contained good eating, adequate sanitation, computer models
    Artistic reconstruction of a cross section of Ernietta. Note the sediment's laminations in the cavity and the particles in the surrounding water that settle into the cavity. Credit: Dave Mazierski
  •   Ediacaran dinner party contained plenty to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows
    Well preserved Ernietta with bottom suture and individual modules visible. Credit: Charlotte Kenchington
  •   Ediacaran dinner party contained plenty to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows
    turbulent energy flows in multimode CFD simulation showing circulating turbulent patterns within and after the Ernietta cavities. Credit: Dave Mazierski

Since Ediacarans fed in the same way as modern marine life, work helps them place them on the tree of life, Darroch says.

"For hundreds of years, we have just been standing on the fossils themselves and making judgments about what we think they are related to," he said. "But Brandt is focused on these unusual bizarre forms and morphologies and said," What if these evolve as a way of managing life in moving fluids. "One of the reasons things develop strange forms is to help them feed." "They behave like animals, and it is a link between them and what we recognize as animals."


The oldest animal of the earth formed complex ecological communities


More information:
B. M. Gibson el al., "Gregarious suspension feeding in a modular Ediacaran organism", Science Advances (2019). advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/6/eaaw0260

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Vanderbilt University




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Ediacaran dinner party presented good to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows (2019, June 19)
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