The life cycle and developmental phases of Cambrian-Ordovician organic-walled microfossils from Kolguev Island, Arctic Russia.
Light microscopy studies of collections of late Cambrian/Early Ordovician organic-walled microfossils, informally called acritarchs, provide the observations on phenotypic traits that are comparable to Modern microalgae and make possible recognition of various developmental stages in their complex life cycle. The exceptionally preserved Saharidia fragilis microfossils show the internal body within the vesicle and the formation of the fringe and pylome, the opening for releasing of the daughter cells from the phycoma-like cyst. All the reproductive stages are distinguished and the hypothetical reconstruction of the complex life cycle is proposed. Various morphotypes are recognized to be a part of the class Prasinophyceae and some microfossils of the genus Leiosphaeridia are thought to represent the develop-mental stage of Saharidia fragilis life cycle. The morphological similarity suggests that those micro-fossils from the Cambrian-Ordovician transitional time interval are the ancestral representatives and early lineages of the Modern class Prasinophyceae.
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