Digermulen Early Life Research Group

Join this international team of researchers as they search for evidence of early life in Finnmark, Norway!

Project leader, Dr. Anette Högström (foreground) and researcher, Dr. Jan Ove R. Ebbestad (background) in Breidvika Valley, Finnmark..

Evolution of early biota and complex ecosystems took place during the Ediacara-Cambrian transition. A suite of stem-group bilaterian animals, vendobionts, radially organized organisms and inhabitants of the planktonic realm emerged in a succession of events leading to the increased diversity of the Cambrian seas. In Scandinavia this entire transition can only be studied on the Digermul Peninsula in northern Norway. Here about 3 000 m of siliciclastic sediments of nearly unprecedented preservation and completeness are preserved, spanning the Ediacara-Cambrian transition and continuing into the Lower Ordovician. 20 years ago Ediacara type fossils were found here, and during 2011 new Aspidella type organisms came to light. Well-preserved organic-walled microfossils give firm age constraints on the succession. Trace fossil abundance and preservation is exceptional. Treptichnus pedum and associated trilobed trace fossils in combination with occurrences of Granomarginata prima and the first report of Cochleatina in Scandinavia places the Ediacaran – Cambrian transition at the third cycle of the Manndraperelva Member (Stáhpogiedde Formation). The age of the lower part of the Stáhpogiedde Formation (Innerelva Member) is suggested to be younger than ca 560 Ma based on the presence of Aspidella, vendotaenids and possible simple trace fossils. The exceptional Digermul succession is thus in a central position for understanding the evolution and development of early complex ecosystems.

Image showing the discovery of Ediacaran fossils.

Team leader, Dr. Anette Högström (Tromsø University Museum) and collaborating scientist, Dr. Jan Ove R. Ebbestad (Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University) pose with slab containing dozens of the disc-shaped Ediacaran fossil called Aspidella.

Map of the study area on the Digermul Peninsula, Finnmark, Norway.


FUNDED BY

 

2014 Digermulen research team photograph.
2014 Digermulen Early Life Research Group team photograph.

RESEARCH TEAM:

Dr. Anette E.S. Högström,
Team Leader
Tromsø University Museum
Tromsø, Norway
 
Dr. Jan Ove R. Ebbestad
Collaborating Scientist
Museum of Evolution
Uppsala University
Uppsala, Sweden
 
Dr. Sören Jensen
Collaborating Scientist
Universidad de Extremadura
Badajoz, Spain
 
Dr. Teodoro Palacios
Collaborating Scientist
Universidad de Extremadura
Badajoz, Spain
 
Dr. Guido Meinhold
Collaborating Scientist
University of Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany
 
Dr. Wendy Taylor
Collaborating Scientist
University of Cape Town,
Cape Town, South Africa
 
Dr. Malgorzata Mozcydlowska Vidal
Collaborating Scientist
Uppsala University
Uppsala, Sweden
 
Dr. Heda Agic
Collaborating Scientist
Uppsala University
Uppsala, Sweden
 
Mr. Magne Høyberget
Mandal, Norway
  
Ms. Linn Novis
PhD Student
Tromsø University Museum
Tromsø, Norway
 
Mr. Zhiji Ou
PhD Student
Tromsø University Museum
Tromsø, Norway
 
 
 
 
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