Vendian Animals: Dickinsonia

from the Ediacara Hills of Australia

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Dickinsonia is known from Vendian rocks of south Australia and north Russia. It is often considered to be an annelid worm because of its apparent similarity to one genus of extant polychaete, Spinther. However, in the opinion of some, it may in fact be a cnidarian polyp, like a soft-bodied version of the "banana coral," Fungia.

The specimen pictured above is an adult one from the Ediacara Hills of southern Australia. We also have a picture of a young Dickinsonia costata from the Winter Coast of the White Sea, in the collections of the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

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