Charnia is a highly significant fossil because it is the first fossil which was ever described to have come from undoubted Precambrian rocks. Prior to 1958, the Precambrian was thought to be completely devoid of fossils and consequently possibly devoid of macroscopic life.
Because of its appearance, the organism was originally thought to be a type of plant, but subsequent analyses suggest the it lived in very deep waters where there would have been insufficient light.
Another hypothesis was that it was a type of 'Sea Pen', species of which are still alive today - but this has now been discounted.
It has no obvious feeding mechanism (gut etc) . How it survived, and to which species it might be related, is currently unknown.
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