March 28, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 49

Soils versus sea beds

There’s a new debate in paleontology, one that took me by surprise but that shows nicely how some science works.

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There’s a particular type of ancient fossil called the “Ediacara fauna” found in rocks about 550 million years old. The term Ediacara is reference to a place in Australia where the fossils were located and well-described. In a complex tale that unfolded over decades both before and a bit after the Australian discovery, similar fossils were found around the world at several locations. In time people connected the separate discoveries and a unified set of fossils was unders...

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