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Paleobiology of Distinctive Benthic Microfossils from the Upper Proterozoic Limestone-Dolomite "Series," Central East Greenland

J. W. Green, A. H. Knoll, S. Golubić and K. Swett
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 74, No. 6 (Jun., 1987), pp. 928-940
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443874
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Paleobiology of Distinctive Benthic Microfossils from the Upper Proterozoic Limestone-Dolomite "Series," Central East Greenland
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Abstract

Populations of Polvbessurus bipartitus Fairchild ex Green et al., a large and morphologically distinctive microfossil, occur in silicified carbonates of the Upper Proterozoic (700-800 Ma) Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland. Large populations of well-preserved individuals permit reconstruction of P. bipartitus as a coccoidal unicell that "jetted" upward from the sediment surface by the highly unidirectional secretion of extracellular mucopolysaccharide envelopes. Reproduction by baeocyte formation is inferred on the basis of clustered envelope stalks produced by small cells. Sedimentological evidence indicates that P. bipartitus formed surficial crusts locally within a shallow peritidal carbonate platform. Among living microorganisms a close morphological, reproductive, and behavioral counterpart to Polybessurus is provided by populations of an as yet undescribed cyanobacterium found in coastal Bahamian environments similar to those in which the Proterozoic fossils occur. In general morphology and "jetting" behavior, this population resembles species of the genus Cvanostylon Geitler (1925), but reproduces via baeocyte formation. Polybessurus is but one of the more than two dozen taxa in the richly fossiliferous biota of the Limestone-Dolomite "Series." This distinctive population, along with co-occurring filamentous cyanobacteria and other microfossils, contributes to an increasingly refined picture of ecological heterogeneity in late Proterozoic oceans.

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