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10 million years that changed the planet: paleoenvironmental context of the evolution of the first animals with skeleton in the Terminal Ediacaran Period

Grant number: 18/26230-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2019 - April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences
Principal Investigator:Lucas Verissimo Warren
Grantee:Lucas Verissimo Warren
Home Institution: Instituto de Geociências e Ciências Exatas (IGCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Alberto Eulogio Arias Cárceres ; Anelize Manuela Bahniuk Rumbelsperger ; Ben Yang ; Claudio Riccomini ; Cristiano de Carvalho Lana ; Daniel G. Poiré ; Eric Tohver ; Fernanda Quaglio ; Filipe Giovanini Varejão ; Gabriel Jubé Uhlein ; Juliana Okubo ; Lucas Inglez dos Reis ; Luis Buatois ; Marcello Guimarães Simões ; Mario Luis Assine ; Martino Giorgioni ; Shuhai Xiao


The emergence and evolution of the first skeletonized animals has been one of the main focuses of geologic and paleontological research in the last decades. Distinct research groups has been dedicated to the analysis of the rare fossil occurrences in which are preserved the remains of animals with skeletons that lived on our planet 550m ago. Despite some recent studies in South America, research on this important evolutionary processes are still embryonic in this continent. Considering this perspective, this project aims the study of the most promising Ediacaran fossiliferous unit in South America, the Itapucumi Group, Paraguay. The studies will be marked by an integrative approach, aiming a multy-proxy analysis of the fossil bearing unit, as well as similar surveys conducted in other parts of the world. Thus, a detailed research will be carried out based on stratigraphic, paleontological, geochronological and geochemical aspects from the Tagatiya Guazu Formation, the unit that has been proven the holder of the most complete assembly of skeletal fossils (Nama Assembly) of the Ediacarano record. For this study we propose to obtain data concerning the paleoenvironmental conditions that acted during the advent of mineralization of the first skeleton using advanced analytical techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), geochronology of detrital zircons and sulfur isotopic geochemistry. To achieve the objectives of this project, a team was formed with renowned researchers in the areas of stratigraphy, paleontology, geochemistry and geochronology who have been actively developing research in collaboration with the proponent of this project within the International Commission on Ediacaran Stratigraphy. The main goal of this project is contribute to the understanding of the paleoecological aspects which led to the rise, diversification and extinction of the first skeletonized animals at the end of the Ediacaran. Likewise, it is expected that by unveiling one of the last frontiers of pre-Cambrian paleontology in the South American continent, the Itapucumi Group will figure as a reference for the study of the evolution of metazoan organisms on Earth. (AU)