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The Precambrian is a division of Earth’s history spanning from the formation of the planet some 4.6 billion years ago, to the sudden and abundant occurrence of animal life at the beginning of the Cambrian period around 541 million years ago. It accounts for 88% of the geological record. Through the course of the Precambrian, the earth was transformed from a volatile volcanic planet with a noxious CO2 based atmosphere into a much more familiar world with an atmosphere comparable to the present. The earliest Precambrian was a chaotic period during which the earth was under heavy barrage from meteors. Later the planet cooled and the oceans formed. Life originated and began to change the planet forever. The evolution of photosynthesising bacteria radically changed the atmosphere of our world. Complex cells evolved. The latest Precambrian was characterised by the most catastrophic ice ages in earth’s history. The so called ‘snowball earth’ glaciations covered the planet in ice from the poles to the equator. During the last 100 million years of the Precambrian, the first multi cellular animals appeared. The Ediacaran fauna, which is found in rocks of the same age globally, seems to have flourished for a time before disappearing at the end of the Precambrian.



Episode 50: Rangeomorph Reproduction

Published on August 14th, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

On today’s episode we’re revisiting Mistaken Point, Newfoundland, Canada. At this lagerstätte it is possible to find large bedding planes full of Precambrian organisms called rangeomorphs. These are an enigmatic group, which still can’t be placed on the ‘tree of [&hellip... Read More



Evolution and Early Life

Published on September 4th, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Career of Martin Brasier on his Retirement To commemorate the retirement of Oxford University’s Professor Martin Brasier, a small symposium was held to which Palaeocast were invited to film. [&hellip... Read More



Episode 16: Multicellularity in cyanobacteria

Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

One of the most significant events in Earth’s history has been the oxygenation of its atmosphere 2.45–2.32 billion years ago. This accumulation of molecular oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was so significant that it is now commonly known as the [&hellip... Read More



Episode 5: Mistaken Point

Published on October 15th, 2012 | by Dave Marshall

The biota of the Ediacaran period (635 – 541 ma) is of critical importance to our understanding of the origin of animals because it immediately precedes the Cambrian fauna, from which all subsequent animal life evolved. Localities of this [&hellip... Read More

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