The Ediacaran Period

Ediacaran Period is the third and last period of the Neoproterozoic era lasted from about 653 million years to 542 million years ago. This period is known by the name of Vendian before the International Committee on Stratigraphy officially recognized it by the name of Ediacaran. The International Union of Geological Sciences approved its status as the last period of Neoproterozoic era in March 2004. The period has seen several developments in fauna and also experienced changes in climatic conditions.

How was Earth at the time of Early Ediacaran?
Glaciations were in abundance at the early Ediacaran and this phase is generally known as the Marinoan ice ages counted from 605 to 585 million years ago. However, there are no conclusive evidence of the snowball Earth events in the early Ediacaran.

Ediacaran at its next or second phase was warm and humid
Though the first part was cool and regarded as the ice ages but the second part was quite opposite. It was featured by a humid and warm climate which was thought to rise even to high altitudes, particularly in the southern hemisphere. But at the end of this Ediacaran period climatic condition again changed from warm to cool temperature which gradually resulted in the glaciations at the higher latitudes.

Life in the Ediacaran period
Unlike many of the preceding periods this Ediacaran period has good evidences of life. Formation of Doushantuo, and Drook are also known in the records.

Formation of Drook in the Ediacaran period
Roughly dated from 595 to 575 million ago these include frond like organisms were thought to appear in the southeast Newfoundland. These organisms include Charnia masoni which were the newer species Charnia wardi. These marine species grew up to 2mts in length and remained attached to the bed with the help of frond like appendages.

Formation of Doushantuo in the Ediacaran period
This group includes bilaterians, algae, and cnidarians and grew in the south central China before 570 million years. Though there were some contradictory opinions among the experts regarding the time span of these organisms but they are said to be post Varangian.

Fossils of cosmopolitan taxa
A large collection of preserved fossils were found in the east of Newfoundland. These fossils dated back to 565 million years ago and contained Charnia and Aspidella which were the types of cosmopolitan taxa. However, some of these organisms were known to be endemic of the Newfoundland or thought to share locality of Charnwood Forest in the central England.

Ediacara Hills and White Sea coast of Russia
These two sites are known to be the bed of Ediacaran fauna. About 60% of the Ediacaran taxa were known to be found at these two sites. Fossils of Kimberella quadrata a type of box jellies along with other types of organisms are found to grow at these sites.