Journal article

New multicellular marine macroalgae from the early Tonian of northwestern Canada

Katie M Maloney, Galen P Halverson, James D Schiffbauer, Shuhai Xiao, Timothy M Gibson, Maxwell A Lechte, Vivien M Cumming, Alexie EG Millikin, Jack G Murphy, Malcolm W Wallace, David Selby, Marc Laflamme



Molecular phylogenetic data suggest that photosynthetic eukaryotes first evolved in freshwater environments in the early Proterozoic and diversified into marine environments by the Tonian Period, but early algal evolution is poorly reflected in the fossil record. Here, we report newly discovered, millimeter- to centimeter-scale macrofossils from outershelf marine facies of the ca. 950-900 Ma (Re-Os minimum age constraint = 898 ± 68 Ma) Dolores Creek Formation in the Wernecke Mountains, northwestern Canada. These fossils, variably preserved by iron oxides and clay minerals, represent two size classes. The larger forms feature unbranching thalli with uniform cells, differentiated cell walls, l..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

Awarded by NSF CAREER

Awarded by NASA exobiology grant

Awarded by NSERC

Funding Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun for permitting our field work on their traditional lands. We thank T. Selly, A. Hoffman, G. Nowell, and C. Ottley for technical support. This research was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postgraduate scholarship, and Northern Scientific Training Program, and the Chemical and Physical Sciences Research Visit Program (University of Toronto Mississauga) support to Maloney; a Fonds de Recherche du Quebec Nature et Technologies fellowship to Lechte; U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) IF 1636643 and NSF CAREER 1652351 grants to Schiffbauer; a NASA exobiology grant (80NSSC18K1086) to Xiao; an Agouron Geobiology Fellowship to Gibson; the Total Endowment Fund and a China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) scholarship to Selby; a NSERC Discovery Grant (RGPIN435402) to Laflamme; and NSERC Discovery (RGPIN2017-04025) and Agouron grants, and logistical support from the Polar Continental Shelf Program, to Halverson.