University of Bristol

'Small Shelly Fossils'

They're small, they're shelly and they're fossils, and they are common in the Tommotian and Adtabanian stages of the lower Cambrian. The significance of these fossils is they mark the first appearance of skeletalized parts, albeit at a very small scale; they are also the first components of the Cambrian explosion if the Ediacara are discounted.

small shelly fossils

A variety of Small shelly fossil forms. From Basic Palaeontology . Benton M.J. & Harper D. 1997.

The SSF assemblages consist of tiny plates, cones and tubes made from various minerals. Some elements are considered to be the sclerites of larger animals, multiplated worms possibly, others seem to be the tiny shells of individual animals. Many components of the small shelly fauna cannot be allied with any modern group, and like the Ediacara, could represent anatomies that arose early and disappeared quickly.

Back to: The Ediacara
On to: Burgess Shale type faunas

timing triggers fossils controversies

This report was written by Abby Lane and was last updated on 20th January 1999