The Dawn of Animal life: the view from the Ediacaran

The dawn of animal life on Earth was one of the most profound events in the history of the planet – an event that we are personally invested in. Early multicellular animals first appeared over half a billion years ago in the Ediacaran Period at a time when the seafloor was covered with algal and microbial slime and levels of free oxygen were apparently lower than today and temporally variable. Some organisms had body plans unknown today but others exhibited the bilateral symmetry common in among Modern animals. Professor Mary Droser talks about the form of fossils from the Ediacaran Period, and life on the sea floor. 

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Professor Mary Droser completed her PhD in Geology from the University of Southern California and is now a distinguished Professor of Geology at the University of California Riverside. Mary has wide-ranging research interests; her group works on how and when the earliest animals evolved through to understanding the impact of climate perturbations on living groups like oysters to inform modern day conservation efforts.