A networking resource devoted to biological soil crusts and the researchers who study them. We will provide a means for international scientists to communicate, share their research, share important news and announcements, ask questions and find collaborators. We will also provide a space for informal writing on research, opinion, and ideas (now seeking posters!).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Australian multicellular fossils point to life on land, not at sea, geologist proposes

I'm going to have to find the time to write about this in a bit more detail, but here's the press version.

Australian multicellular fossils point to life on land, not at sea, geologist proposes

In a nutshell, this paper interprets the ediacaran fossil marine "animals" as organisms of biological soil crusts. The argument that these famous fossils are terrestrial has been around a long time. I think the new element is evidence that these are paleosols, specifically with evidence of a fossil crust. I don't know if I believe it...but more on this later.


  1. Incredible how Science kind often become a mirror image of conventional religious Ecclesiastic Hierarchical Order which as a rule hates changes traditional to long held doctrinal views.

    I think Biological Soil Crusts as first appearances to life on Earth's soils makes Bio Sense. And why is this paper significant? At Science Daily, the author is quoted as explaining that “This discovery has implications for the tree of life, because it removes Ediacaran fossils from the ancestry of animals.”

    If these Ediacaran fossils are not ancestral to the animals that appear so explosively in the Cambrian (a position held by others in the field), then those who hold true to the neo-Darwinian paradigm have very little left to cling to. Darwin’s dilemma remains. And ultimately this is the problem that will be argued. It's really to bad that this stuff gets in the way of truly fascinating finds. In the mean time, does anything here tell us anything about practical applications NOW ? I mean, like how to rebuild the earth after mankind has obliterated whole portions of it.

    I'm still intrigued by some of Terra Derm's website soil rebuilding concepts, but they are still a little vague on several details. Are there any other programs out there that you know of that are attempting rebuilding soils through bio-crust propagation methods along with desert plant re-establishment ?

    Thanks for the post again Matthew


  2. @ Timeless: First off, these are observations, so they can't be used to fund a religion, belief without evidence.

    Second, the Ediacaran assembly is from 25 localities ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ediacara_biota ), so a local finding doesn't affect the whole:

    "Thus the fossils in Australia's iconic red-rock ranges, he concludes, were landlubbers."

    "Retallack leaves open the possibility that some Ediacaran fossils found elsewhere in the world may not be land-based in origin, writing in his conclusion that the many different kinds of these fossils need to be tested and re-evaluated."

    This problem of Retallack makes the finding less likely, and less likely to affect the assemblage observations IMHO (not a paleontologist, just interested in the astrobiology).

    1. Well here was my point Torbjörn, I could care less about these ridiculous political squabblings between members of Christendom and Evangelical Atheists. What I am interested in are practical applications for use in the real world. Looking at biology from a Biological mimetics or biomimicry viewpoint are all I'm interested in. I'm a hands on learner and observation and application are how I retain things. I leave the rest to all the ideologues on both sides.

      I asked for any ideas on growth promotion Biocrusts and other related farming techniques. There doesn't appear to be much of anything out there except for the usual activism. Thanks anyway.

  3. @ Timeless: "I could care less about these ridiculous political squabblings between members of Christendom and Evangelical Atheists."

    It was you who mentioned religion ("conventional religious Ecclesiastic Hierarchical Order") and now you couldn't care less, it is about "Christendom and Evangelical Atheists" whoever those are, and it is "political". You seem confused, and despite your later claim, an ideologue.

    All I did was to point out practical applications. Science is mutually supportive, but it is the nature of the beast that you can't always or even much tell what is going to lead to new inroads elsewhere or ,what you look for, spin off technologies. [I believe NASA's work on the ROI of various space science bear these claims up.]

    So if you are asking an open ended question, that is the response you will get. The best constraint of your question seems to be that somewhere some-when the first soils were produced, and what we can learn from that. Not much, currently.