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Geological alteration of Precambrian steroids mimics early animal signatures

Date

2020-11-23

Authors

van Maldegem, Lennart
Nettersheim, Benjamin
Leider, Arne
Brocks, Jochen
Adam, Pierre
Schaeffer, Philippe
Hallmann, Christian O. E.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Nature Publishing Group

Abstract

The absence of unambiguous animal body fossils in rocks older than the late Ediacaran has rendered fossil lipids the most promising tracers of early organismic complexity. Yet much debate surrounds the various potential biological sources of putative metazoan steroids found in Precambrian rocks. Here we show that 26-methylated steranes—hydrocarbon structures currently attributed to the earliest animals—can form via geological alteration of common algal sterols, which carries important implications for palaeo-ecological interpretations and inhibits the use of such unconventional ‘sponge’ steranes for reconstructing early animal evolution.

Description

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Citation

van Maldegem, L.M., Nettersheim, B.J., Leider, A. et al. Geological alteration of Precambrian steroids mimics early animal signatures. Nat Ecol Evol 5, 169–173 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01336-5

Source

Nature Ecology & Evolution

Type

Journal article

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Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1038/s41559-020-01336-5

Restricted until

2099-12-31