Q:

What animals and plants became extinct during the Precambrian Era?

A:

Quick Answer

Plants and animals that became extinct during the Precambrian Era include acritarchs and Ediacara biota. These were soft-bodied organisms. Animals such as Namacalathus and Cloudina also became extinct in the Precambrian Era.

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Full Answer

The Ediacara biota were soft-bodied creatures that resembled fronds, discs or tubes. Scientists are not quite sure if they were plants or animals. They might have been types of fungi or microbes that formed colonies. At the time, there were no flowering plants.

The Ediacara biota flourished until the very end of the Precambrian Era, a time which is known as the Ediacaran period. This was over half a billion years ago. What fascinates scientists about these creatures is that they formed fossils in the first place, even though they had soft bodies.

Some acritarchs are fossils of the tiny cysts that dinoflagellates and algae reverted to when their environment dried up. Scientist can use these cysts to determine what the environment was like when these microscopic plants were alive.

Cloudina was one of the first animals that built a shell around itself, and great colonies of these animals helped to build up ancient reefs. Like modern bivalves and univalves, its shells were made of calcium carbonate. Namacalathus, a creature resembling a perforated cup on a stick, was also believed to have a calcified skeleton.

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