Paper No. 76-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
NEW EDIACARAN FOSSIL DISCOVERIES FROM BAFQ REGION, CENTRAL IRAN
The Ediacara biota represents an enigmatic group of large, soft-bodied organisms with a global distribution in the latest Ediacaran (~579-541 Ma). We recently completed extensive field research initiatives targeting the Precambrian Kushk Series in the Bafq region of central Iran, which has yielded a diverse assemblage of Ediacaran fossils. Kushk series crops out widely in the Kushk and Chahmir areas of Bafq region and consists mainly of shallow marine carbonate deposits followed by deep-water calcareous marine shales. Ediacaran fossils have previously been reported from the Lower Shale Member (Chopoghlu Shale) of the Soltanieh Formation from northern Iran, and shale deposits of the Kushk Series in the Bafq area, central Iran. These include the type material of Permedusites changazensis Hahn and Pflug 1980 among other fossils such as “Dickinsonia”, “Palaeoplatoda”, “Pteridinium”, “Spriggina”, “Yazdia”, and Kushkia; however, recent taxonomic and taphonomic studies put into question the reliability of these taxonomic assignments. Our new Ediacaran field sites in the Kushk series showcase a fossil assemblage much more diverse than typically known from the latest Ediacaran systems, and include biostratigraphically-important taxa that aid in confirming a Nama Assemblage age (Late Ediacaran) for these units. Many of these new fossils have a global distribution, with known examples from southwestern USA and China. These new fossil finds help our understanding of the latest Ediacaran prior to the Ediacaran extinction at the hands of metazoans.