1 Key Laboratory of Petroleum Accumulation Mechanisms, Wuxi Research Institute of Petroleum Geology, SINOPEC,
Wuxi 214151, Jiangsu, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, Jiangsu, China
3 School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210008, Jiangsu, China
Exceptionally preserved nano-scale spheroids derived from microbial processes and nano-scale fossils have
been discovered from the black shales of the Jijiawan section of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in the Yangtze
Gorge area of Hubei Province, southern China. The numerous soccer ball-like spheroids are pyritized. Their morphology
and abundant preservation may suggest that they could possibly be related to larger spheroids, regardless of the
tremendous dimensional gap found in the phosphorite and cherts of the Doushantuo Formation, including those
recognized as ‘embryos’. The colony-like spheroids preserved in situ and obtained by acid maceration are compared with
known Neoproterozoic microfossils—Bavlinella faveolata (or Sphaerocongregus variabilis). Additionally, nano-scale
fossil bodies, characterized by morphological features comparable to living cyanobacteria, fungi and possible unicellular
heterotrophic protists were observed in different minor laminae of the black shale samples. This study aims to reveal the
aspects of nano-scale biota preserved in the black shale of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, and highlight the
taphonomy of microorganisms during the key transition from the anoxic deeper oceans to the oxygenated oceans of the
early Ediacaran interval.
Keywords: : Nano-scale spheroids and fossils, Ediacaran, Doushantuo Formation.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the State Key Laboratory of
Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and
Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, Jiangsu,
China; Tel: 0086-025-83282240; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org