Neoproterozoic: Trace Fossils

At the same time the Ediacaran fauna were flourishing, about 565 million years ago, unknown creatures were making simple tracks on the sea floor. They appear on the roof of this cave in Sweden.

Towards the end of the Neoproterozoic, different kinds of creature were making more complex traces. Paleontologists believed that only an animal with a gut and contractile tissue could have made these traces.

Dickinsonia and Kimberella, whose body fossils have been found in Russia, are now seen as likely candidates for some of these traces. The complex traces are the first evidence that something very new had evolved.

Photo: National Geographic, October, 1993