Vendian Animals: Charnia

from the White Sea Region of Russia

Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Charnia is one of the largest Vendian fossils, with some specimens reaching one meter in length; unfortunately, complete specimens are rare. The flat, leafy body of Charnia was attached to a disk-shaped holdfast that attached the organism to the bottom (not seen on this fossil).

Charnia was first discovered in rocks exposed at Charnwood Forest in central England. It was thought at first to be an alga, but most researchers tend to place Charnia closest to the living "sea pens" or pennatulaceans, a group of colonial cnidarians distantly related to the corals. Charnia has also been found in north Russia, Newfoundland, and northern Siberia, making it a relatively cosmopolitan Vendian organism.

Return to Vendian Animals

Authors Copyright