- Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period on ocean floors around present-day’s Australia, Russia and Ukraine.
- The individual Dickinsonia typically resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval.
- Its affinities are presently unknown; its mode of growth is consistent with a stem-group bilaterian affinity, though some have suggested that it belongs to the fungi or even an “extinct kingdom”.
- The discovery of cholesterol molecules in fossils of Dickinsonia lends support to the idea that Dickinsonia was an animal.
- It is believed to be one of the key links between the early, simple organisms and the explosion of life in the Cambrian Period, about 541 million years ago.
Key facts about the Ediacaran period
- It consisted of tubular and frond-shaped organisms that lived during this period.
- The Edicarian Period was about 20 million years before the emergence of modern animal life — a period known as the Cambrian explosion.
Q1) What is the significance of the Cambrian Period?
The Cambrian Period marks an important point in the history of life on Earth; it is the time when most of the major groups of animals first appear in the fossil record.