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NASA Grant Allows Study of Oldest Multicellular Organisms

Geology Professor Paul Myrow was awarded a two-year $29,970 grant from NASA to study the fossils of the oldest multicellular organisms, known as Ediacara Biota.   Myrow is part of a team of scientists that will study the role of changing sedimentary environments and ecology in the Ediacara Biota.

He is the lead sedimentologist for the project and will oversee fieldwork in the western United States. Additional fieldwork will take place in South Australia, with analysis to be done at California Institute of Technology. Colorado College students will be involved in the project.

Myrow also had four papers published recently.  One, "Plate tectonic influences on Neoproterozoic–early Paleozoic climate and animal revolution," discusses how increases in volcanic eruptions and associated carbon dioxide may have led to the Cambrian explosion.   Myrow was interviewed by The Weather Channel and New Scientist magazine regarding the paper, which appeared in the journal Geology

A second, "Ediacaran matground ecology persisted into the earliest Cambrian," appeared in Nature Communications. The paper looks at the ecology of organisms that live in association with microbial mats and how that may have changed prior to, and after, the Cambrian explosion.

Third, "Precambrian–Cambrian boundary interval occurrence and form of the enigmatic tubular body fossil Shaanxilithes ningqiangensis from the Lesser Himalaya of India" appeared in the journal Paleontology.

The fourth paper, “High-precision U–Pb age and duration of the latest Devonian(Famennian) Hangenberg event, and its implications,” appeared in Terra Nova.