The Ediacaran period lasted approximately from 635 to 542.0 ± 1.0 million years ago. At that time the Earth was inhabited by soft-bodied creatures – the first of the known and widespread multicellular animals.
In the sediments of this period, the remains of living organisms are rare, because there were no organisms with a skeleton. But there are prints of soft-bodied creatures.
The exhibition “The Ediacaran period” is presented in the first hall of the museum from January 30, 2020. It became possible thanks to the transferred fossil remains aged 570 ± 20 million years from the collection of the Precambrian biota of the Wend-Ediacaria of Ukraine museum. He is cared for by the public organization “Let’s Save the Natural Heritage of Ukraine of the Precambrian Ediacaran Period”.
Beginning of Ediacaran’s research on the territory of Ukraine
Fossilized prints of the first Precambrian multicellular organisms on Earth were first described in 1916 in an article by Ukrainian geologist Krasovsky O. as mysterious prints on the surface of Silurian (as it was then believed) sandstones. He believed that these were fossil prints of raindrops. And only in the late 1920s Kaptarenko O. suggest that these were imprints of ancient jellyfish.
In 1965, Zaika-Novitsky М. described small prints of organic shells origin Bronicella, and Kiryanov V. described remains of Sabellidites cambriensis. Later Gnilovskaya M. described the water-plant Vendotaenia and Tirasotaenia. And the sensation was the discovery of the imprint of Cyclomedusa plana – a typical form of classical Precambrian fauna of Ediacaran (South Australia).
Later, the Transnistrian vendra was explored, materials from more than 20 locations were carefully processed, and new forms of primitive fossil organisms were discovered. Only in 4-5 countries of the world and Ukraine relatively massive are find fossils of the first Precambrian multicellular organisms on Earth aged 570 ± 20 million years.
The state of locations of geological monuments
The fossilized imprints of the Ediacaran fauna are an invaluable heritage of all mankind, as they are of epoch-making significance for the reproduction of the early stages of the evolution of the organic world of the Earth.
Unfortunately, the situation with the sights is quite deplorable. Thus, under the waters of the Dniester Reservoir, outcrops of rocks with traces of the activity of the Ediacaran fauna disappeared forever. The place of the first find of Cyclomedusa plana is plowed. And samples with fossilized prints have already appeared on the European “black” market.
With this exhibition we hope to grab attention of all concerned to the fate of Ukraine’s unique natural heritage.