Brasier Highlights: Ediacara


Discover specimens that are not currently on display


Haootia quadriformis, an Ediacaran fossil from Newfoundland, Canada. This is the first fossil from the Ediacaran that shows signs of muscle fibres.

Haootia quadriformis from the Brasier collection


It was once thought that the Cambrian Explosion 541 million years ago marked the first appearance of complex life on Earth. However, a wide range of fossils has since been found in older, Precambrian rocks. The best known of these are the Ediacara fauna – strange, soft-bodied organisms quite unlike anything alive today. 

There are now Ediacaran fossil sites known from all over the world, but some of the first fossils came from Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire.

Since their discovery, there has been a lot of debate regarding the categorisation of Ediacaran fossils. Some of them are almost certainly related to specific groups of modern animals, but others may be members of groups of organisms that did not survive the end of the Ediacaran period. 


A cast of Charnia masoni, from the Ediacaran age rocks of Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire. Charnia is a Rangeomorph, one of a group of frond-like organisms that grew affixed to the seabed. 

A fossil of Charnia masoni from the Brasier Collection