South Australia Museum

Raymond Terrace, Australia

South Australia Museum

Raymond Terrace, Australia
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Lavigne R.,South Australia Museum | Lavigne R.,University of Wyoming
Entomological News | Year: 2017

A new species of robber fly, Harpagobroma bicoloratus, (Diptera: Asilidae) is described from New South Wales, Australia. Comparison is made with the description of H. fumosa Hull, the holotype of which is missing and presumed to be lost.


Evans S.D.,University of California at Riverside | Droser M.L.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

The Ediacara Biota represents the oldest fossil evidence for the appearance of animals but linking these taxa to specific clades has proved challenging. Dickinsonia is an abundant, apparently bilaterally symmetrical Ediacara fossil with uncertain affinities. We identified and measured key morphological features of over 900 specimens of Dickinsonia costata from the Ediacara Member, South Australia to characterize patterns in growth and morphology. Here we show that development in Dickinsonia costata was surprisingly highly regulated to maintain an ovoid shape via terminal addition and the predictable expansion of modules. This result, along with other characters found in Dickinsonia suggests that it does not belong within known animal groups, but that it utilized some of the developmental gene networks of bilaterians, a result predicted by gene sequencing of basal metazoans but previously unidentified in the fossil record. Dickinsonia thus represents an extinct clade located between sponges and the last common ancestor of Protostomes and Deuterostomes, and likely belongs within the Eumetazoa. © 2017 Evans et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Tarhan L.G.,University of California at Riverside | Droser M.L.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum
Palaios | Year: 2010

Earth's earliest known metazoan ecosystems are represented by a handful of globally distributed fossil assemblages, collectively referred to as the Ediacara Biota. Although a number of these deposits have been extensively studied, a large proportion of Ediacaran diversity remains uncharacterized. As a result, our understanding of community structure during this important stage of early metazoan evolution is largely incomplete. Moreover, it is only by examining these deposits from a taphonomic perspective that we can hope to decipher these enigmatic forms and fully reconstruct the Ediacaran community. Using this approach, we describe the anomalous preservation of a distinct, prolific, and previously undescribed Ediacaran biogenic sedimentary structure, informally known as "mop," from the Ediacara Member of the Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia. Morphological resemblance, spatial association, size distribution, and examination of intermediary forms indicate a shared origin with the holdfast form genus Aspidella and convergence with Pseudorhizostomites. We interpret mop to have been formed by the dragging or uprooting of a Charniodiscus-like frond through a microbially bound substrate by unidirectional currents. Like a freeze frame, mop captures the momentary interaction of organisms and their physical and biotic environment. Detailed characterization of morphological and sedimentological features suggests that variability of mop and associated forms is due largely to taphonomically controlled factors. A better understanding of problematic structures like mop may elucidate the still-enigmatic Ediacaran substrate and the non-actualistic taphonomic processes at work in the preservation of Ediacaran deposits. © 2010 SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).


Sappenfield A.,University of California at Riverside | Droser M.L.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum
Journal of Paleontology | Year: 2011

Ediacaran trace fossils are becoming an increasingly less common component of the total Precambrian fossil record as structures previously interpreted as trace fossils are reinterpreted as body fossils by utilizing qualitative criteria. Two morphotypes, Form E and Form F of Glaessner (1969), interpreted as trace fossils from the Ediacara Member of the Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia are shown here to be body fossils of a single, previously unidentified tubular constructional morphology formally described herein as Somatohelix sinuosus n. gen. n. sp. S. sinuosus is 2-7 mm wide and 3-14 cm long and is preserved as sinusoidal casts and molds on the base of beds. Well-preserved examples of this fossil preserve distinct body fossil traits such as folding, current alignment, and potential attachment to holdfasts. Nearly 200 specimens of this fossil have been documented from reconstructed bedding surfaces within the Ediacara Member. When viewed in isolated hand sample, many of these specimens resemble ichnofossils. However, the ability to view large quantities of reassembled and successive bedding surfaces within specific outcrops of the Ediacara Member provides a new perspective, revealing that isolated specimens of rectilinear grooves on bed bases are not trace fossils but are poorly preserved specimens of S. sinuosus. Variation in the quality and style of preservation of S. sinuosus on a single surface and the few distinct characteristics preserved within this relatively indistinct fossil also provides the necessary data required to define a taphonomic gradient for this fossil. Armed with this information, structures which have been problematic in the past can now be confidently identified as S. sinuosus based on morphological criteria. This suggests that the original organism that produced this fossil was a widespread and abundant component of the Ediacaran ecosystem. © 2011 The Paleontological Society.


Xiao S.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Droser M.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum | Hughes I.V.,Riverside STEM Academy | And 3 more authors.
Geology | Year: 2013

The Ediacara biota has been long championed as a snapshot of the marine ecosystem on the eve of the Cambrian explosion, providing important insights into the early evolution of animals. Fossiliferous beds in the eponymous Ediacara Member of South Australia have been recently reinterpreted as paleosols and Ediacara fossils as lichens or microbial colonies that lived on terrestrial soils. This reinterpretation, here dubbed the terrestrial Ediacara hypothesis, would fundamentally change our views of biological evolution just prior to the Cambrian explosion. We take a comparative paleobiology approach to test this hypothesis. The Ediacara Member shares a number of forms with assemblages in Ediacaran marine black shales in South China, shales that show no evidence of pedogenesis. Thus, the shared Ediacara fossils, and by extension other co-occurring fossils, are unlikely to have been terrestrial organisms. A terrestrial interpretation is also inconsistent with functional morphological evidence; some of the shared forms are not morphologically adapted to address the most critical challenges for terrestrial life (e.g., mechanical support and desiccation). Thus, the terrestrial Ediacara hypothesis can be falsified on comparative paleobiological and functional morphological grounds, and we urge paleopedologists to critically reevaluate evidence for pedogenesis in the Ediacara Member and other Ediacaran successions. © 2013 Geological Society of America.


Droser M.L.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum | Gehling J.G.,University of Adelaide | Dzaugis M.E.,University of Rhode Island | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Paleontology | Year: 2014

Abstract Nilpenia rossi new genus new species, described here from the Ediacara Member (Rawnsley Quartzite, South Australia), provides evidence of a Precambrian macroscopic sessile sediment-dweller. Nilpenia, ranging up to 30 cm in diameter, consists of two zones, a complex central area surrounded by radiating, dichotomously branching structures that decrease in diameter from the center to the outer edges. Other elements of the Ediacara Biota are interpreted to have been mat-encrusters but Nilpenia uniquely grew within the upper millimeters of the actual sediment displacing sediment with growth. This sediment surface was rippled and cohesive and may well have included an endobenthic mat. The branching network on the upper surface of the organisms would have been in contact with the water. The phylogenetic relationships of the Ediacara biota are not well constrained and Nilpenia is no exception. However, the morphology and ecology of Nilpenia represent a novel growth strategy present in the Ediacaran and not common today. © 2014 The Paleontological Society.


Droser M.L.,University of California at Riverside | Gehling J.G.,South Australia Museum | Gehling J.G.,University of Adelaide
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Patterns of origination and evolution of early complex life on this planet are largely interpreted from the fossils of the Precambrian soft-bodied Ediacara Biota. These fossils occur globally and represent a diverse suite of organisms living in marine environments. Although these exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages are typically difficult to reconcile with modern phyla, examination of the morphology, ecology, and taphonomy of these taxa provides keys to their relationships with modern taxa. Within the more than 30 million y range of the Ediacara Biota, fossils of these multicellular organisms demonstrate the advent of mobility, heterotrophy by multicellular animals, skeletonization, sexual reproduction, and the assembly of complex ecosystems, all of which are attributes of modern animals. This approach to these fossils, without the constraint of attempting phylogenetic reconstructions, provides a mechanism for comparing these taxa with both living and extinct animals. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Dennis D.S.,1105 Myrtle Wood Drive | Lavigne R.J.,South Australia Museum | Lavigne R.J.,University of Wyoming | Dennis J.G.,P.O. Box 861161
Journal of the Entomological Research Society | Year: 2012

There are many references on the Internet and in the published literature to robber flies preying upon spiders. However, an evaluation of available data summarized in the Asilidae Predator-Prey Database reveals that spiders make up only a small percentage of the robber fly diet (less than 1% of approximately 58,000 prey listed in the Database). The types of spider chosen as prey are discussed and examined in relation to robber fly classification. Robber fly methods of capturing spiders are examined and comments about spiders preying upon robber flies are provided.


Grice J.D.,Canadian Museum of Nature | Pring A.,South Australia Museum
American Mineralogist | Year: 2012

Crystal structures of the three polytypes of veatchite, Sr 2B 11O 16(OH) 5.H 2O, are determined by X-ray, single-crystal studies. The polytypes are: veatchite-1A, triclinic space group P1, with a = 6.6378(6), b = 6.7387(6), c = 20.982(2) A°, α = 87.860(1), β = 82.696(12), Δ = 60.476(1)°, V = 809.7(2) A°3; veatchite-1M, monoclinic space group P21, with a = 6.7127(4), b = 20.704(1), c = 6.6272(4) A°, β = 119.209(1)°, V = 805.4(2) A°3; and veatchite-2M,monoclinic space group Cc with a = 6.6070(3), b = 11.7125(5), c = 20.6848(9) A°, β = 91.998(1)°, V = 1599.7(2) A°3. The crystal structures have two layer types with similar fundamental building blocks: A layer FBB = 3Δ2o:<Δ2o>-<2Δo> and B layer FBB = 3Δ2o,1Δ:<Δ2o>-<2Δo>, Δ (Grice et al. 1999). Unique in this FBB is the lone polyhedron with triangular coordination, which consists of a neutrally charged [B(OH) 3] group. Layering has a directional component and depending on layer sequence the symmetry may be centrosymmetric or non-centrosymmetric. Related layered borate structures, biringuccite, nasinite, gowerite, and volkovskite, are compared. Observations indicate that veatchite-1A is the low-temperature and low-pressure polytype, veatchite-1M the high-temperature polytype, and veatchite-2M the moderate temperature and higher pressure polytype. © 1997 - 2012 Mineralogical Society of America.

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