Conical Thecae of Precambrian Macroorganisms

A. Yu Ivantsov, P. Vickers-Rich, M. A. Zakrevskaya, M. Hall

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: On the basis of new extensive collections, made by the present authors, a group of unsegmented three-dimensional fossil remains from the Late Precambrian of Namibia and the southeastern White Sea area, including such genera as Protechiurus, Vendoglossa, and Vendoconularia, were restudied. It is established that the fossils belong to two morphologically close genera (Protechiurus and Vendoconularia), composing the new family Protechiuridae. It is possible that they represent the same genus or even species, but the incompleteness of the preservation of the Namibian member of the group prevents their integration. The fossils initially represented conical hollow elastic objects, hexagonal in the cross-section, which were open at the wide end and closed at the pointed end. The sculpture of their surface consisted of longitudinal ridges, both single and double, bounding the rows of the short transverse ridges, scalloped along one margin. Vendoconularia had wide plates which were attached to the cone outwardly along the longitudinal unpaired ridges. In general morphology and several details the fossils resemble the thecae of conulariids and anabaritids, known from Late Precambrian and Paleozoic and classified as the scyphozoan cnidarians. The main difference lays in the theca mineralization, which consists of phosphate in conulariids, carbonate in anabaritids, and is absent in the case of protechiurids. It is proposed that the protechiurids, which appeared in the fossil record first, may belong to the basal group of ancient scyphozoans, ancestral to the conulariids on the one hand, and to the anabaritids on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1146
Number of pages13
JournalPaleontological Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020


  • anabaritids
  • cnidarians
  • conulariids
  • Ediacaran
  • macrofossils
  • Namibia
  • Protechiurus
  • Scyphozoa
  • Southeastern White Sea area
  • Vendian
  • Vendoconularia
  • Vendoglossa

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