Francevillian Group Fossil

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The Francevillian Group Fossil is representative of Palaeoproterozoic, macroscopic organisms which were roughly centimeter-sized, highly organized, spatially discrete, and which formed colonies. Their fossils are found in the west-African country of Gabon in the Palaeoproterozoic Francevillian B Formation, a 2.1-Gyr-old black shale province.1

The organism was 12 cm in size.1 Their bodies were flattened disks with a characteristic morphology.1 Their margins were scalloped and had radial slits.2 They have an internal radial fabric.2 The geochemistry of the fossil site indicates that they lived on the sediment under an oxygenated water column of a prograding delta, and they might have engaged in aerobic respiration.1

The lead author, Abderrazak El Albani, said, “The discovery is fantastic because it shows the existence of multicellular fauna 1.5 billion years earlier than what we know. … This is important to understand the evolution of life on Earth.”34

Charles Darwin predicted that fossils would be found in the Precambrian rocks. The discovery of these fossils adds to the Precambrian fossil record, and satisfies his predictions about evolutionary history.2


  1. ^ a b c d El Albani, Abderrazak; Bengtson, Stefan; Canfield, Donald E.; Bekker, Andrey; Macchiarelli, Reberto; Mazurier, Arnaud; Hammarlund, Emma U.; Boulvais, Philippe et al. (July 2010). "Large colonial organisms with coordinated growth in oxygenated environments 2.1 Gyr ago". Nature 466 (7302): 100–104. doi:10.1038/nature09166. PMID 20596019. 
  2. ^ a b c Donoghue, Philip C. J.; Antcliffe, Jonathan B. (July 2010). "Early Life: Origins of multicellularity". Nature 466 (7302): 41–42. doi:10.1038/466041a. PMID 20596008. 
  3. ^ Dickey, Gwyneth. "African fossils suggest complex life arose early", Science News, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 30th, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-07-02.
  4. ^ Complex, Multicellular Life from Over Two Billion Years Ago Discovered ScienceDaily (July 1, 2010)

See also

Preceded by Archean Eon Proterozoic Eon Followed by Phanerozoic Eon
Paleoproterozoic Era Mesoproterozoic Era Neoproterozoic Era
Siderian Rhyacian Orosirian Statherian Calymmian Ectasian Stenian Tonian Cryogenian Ediacaran

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