Feeding traces of proarticulata—the Vendian metazoa
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- Ivantsov, A.Y. Paleontol. J. (2011) 45: 237. doi:10.1134/S0031030111030063
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Three types of low-topography impressions are described from the Late Vendian, which are interpreted as the feeding traces of representatives of the phylum Proarticulata Fedonkin, 1985, which became extinct in the Precambrian. The producers of two types of trace were found. Impressions are usually large and arranged in groups; therefore their correct interpretation only became possible following large-scale excavation work that was carried out for the first time in the Late Vendian deposits of the Arkhangelsk Region in 1996–2001. The single trace (or trace platform) represents a copy of the whole ventral side of the body made by sandstone or only the part of it. Usually trace platforms are arranged in chains and orientated in one distinct direction. In spite of some superficial similarity, the fossils are neither body remains nor traces of post-mortem compression. The hypothesis of trace formation proposed suggests that the feeding strategy of Proarticulata was different from any feeding behavior known in large Phanerozoic animals. All types of imprints are identified as belonging to the genus Epibaion Ivantsov, 2002. It is proposed that the Australian fossil Phyllozoon Jenkins et Gehling, 1978 is also a feeding trace of Proarticulata.