Paper No. 7-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
COMPARATIVE TAPHONOMY AND MORPHOLOGY OF TUBULAR FAUNAS FROM THE DEEP SPRING FORMATION, NEVADA, AND THE GAOJIASHAN LAGERSTÄTTE, SHAANXI, CHINA
The Gaojiashan Lagerstätte in the Dengying Formation of southern Shaanxi Province, China, hosts a terminal Ediacaran faunal assemblage of enigmatic, soft-bodied and/or lightly biomineralizing fossils. Including the index fossil Cloudina, this assemblage is comprised of numerous tubular and vermiform organisms, including Conotubus, Gaojiashania, Shaanxilithes, and Sinotubulites. Recent investigation of a southwestern US unit, the late Ediacaran Deep Spring Formation near Gold Point, Nevada, has yielded several tubular forms outwardly similar to those found throughout the Gaojiashan. Preliminary scanning electron microscopy analyses of specimens collected previously from this locality yielded structural morphologies that are comparable to those of described specimens of Conotubus from the Gaojiashan. Recently collected specimens show additional morphologies, possibly those of new tubular vermiform taxa that vary largely from the analogous Conotubus from Nevada. Specimens with the highest quality of preservation and definite visual similarities from both Nevada and China were selected for SEM analyses. These microscopic comparisons have the potential to produce new information about the Ediacaran biota of the Deep Spring locality by revealing taxonomic and taphonomic connections to the Gaojiashan locality, as well as exposing new, undescribed taxa.