TIL that many of the lifeforms in the Ediacaran Period (c….

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TIL that many of the lifeforms in the Ediacaran Period (c. 635–538.8 Mya), are very challenging to place in the tree of life. We are not sure whether they are animals, lichens, algae, fungi, microbial colonies, or some strange intermediate between plants and animals.
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  1. >Due to the difficulty of deducing evolutionary relationships among these organisms, some palaeontologists have suggested that these represent completely extinct lineages that do not resemble any living organism.

    I was going to ask about this but decided to take the radical step and actually read the linked article.

    I understand that trying to understand these things in the context of the tree of life as we know it is the logical way to do it, but scientists aren’t discounting the idea that they just don’t fit.

  2. Why did you learn this? I was snooping around Wikipedia articles for early life, eukary- and prokaryotes etc. this weekend as well. Maybe we had the same reason?

  3. The Tree of Life is basically one where the luckiest and healthiest branches bloom while the others get pruned off, so to speak, so it makes sense that at least a number of Ediacaran lifeforms can’t be placed somewhere in the current branches that have representatives today or in more recent times

  4. TIL that “Mya” means “million years ago”.

  5. It our defense…it was a very long time ago and they were experimenting a lot then 🙂

  6. TIL I could drive for a few hours to the [Ediacara Hills](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ediacara_Hills). *Adds to bucket list.*

  7. I had a good section of a pub quiz with pictures of trees you had to fit into families. (I work in arboriculture.) I thought a great variant of this would be ‘Guess the Kingdom’, with a picture of that *Dickinsonia* fossil right at the end as a trick question… the right answer would be no answer, and you’d win the point if you’d written anything but a kingdom name or even not answered at all!

  8. They should develop a planimal.

  9. could be a transitional phase were plants evolve to animals while plants, lichens, algae, and fungi where offshoots of microbials

  10. Groot

  11. Anomalocaris is like an early mantis shrimp.

  12. the Tree of life is a human invention

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