University of Manchester

Investigating Ediacaran fossils with micro-CT

Russell Garwood

Scientific Case

The Ediacaran biota (flourished 579-541 Mya) forms an important and unresolved episode in the history of life. These organisms arose soon after the end of the major glaciations of the Cryogenian, and persisted until the beginning of the Cambrian. They are thought to include some of the earliest animals. Understanding the nature and lifestyle of the Ediacaran organisms is therefore important in tracing the potentially long fuse of the Cambrian explosion. Yet they remain puzzling. This project will use micro-CT to investigate two particularly contentious structures found in rocks of this age, and assess how they fit into the larger picture of the origin of multicellular animals in this age.

Experiment Design

Details of the samples and feature size are included in the science case. This work is a collaboration between Russell and Latha Menon, University of Oxford. In order to test these, and provide proof of concept, we would like to conduct a day of scanning on the Nikon cabinet system to assess the efficacy of the approach for these samples. One, if successful, will feed into a publication already approaching completion, whilst the other will be used as the basis for future funding applications, including more CT scanning. Latha is willing to pay for the scanning from her salary, so any discount for collaboration that could be added, should Manchester co-authors be included in publications, would be appreciated, if such a thing is possible. The samples are rock, and will take ~45 minutes to scan - therefore we request a day for contingency, but will likely only require half a day's scanning.
Scanners and Rigs
Nikon XTH225
Not Required

Sample & Safety

Rock samples
Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report