Vendian Animals: Nemiana

from the White Sea Region of Russia

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Nemiana is one of the simplest of all Vendian fossils, and is difficult to interpret. It seems to be an impression of a saclike body. Similar impressions in later rocks and in modern sediments are attributed to sea anemones; unlike most sea anemones, Nemiana has no tentacles, although occasionally central markings are found that could represent a mouth. Other researchers have speculated that Nemiana might be some sort of large protist, or possibly an alga.

We do know that Nemiana was gregarious; it is rare to find isolated specimens. Nemiana could reproduce by splitting in two. On the Winter Coast of the White Sea, there is also a tendency to find abundant Nemiana in rock layers that were formed during or just after some kind of local environmental disturbance. It seems plausible that Nemiana, whatever it was, was a "Vendian weed" — able to colonize disturbed habitats and reproduce rapidly thanks to its very simple anatomy.

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