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.
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)