The Portfjeld Biota: A Doushantuo-type Lagerstätte from the Ediacaran of southern Peary Land, North Greenland.
Remarkably detailed preservation of cells and soft tissues has been described from several Precambrian Lagerstätten, providing some of the best documented examples of early organismal evolution. Typically, this quality of preservation is made possible through several pathways, of which diagenetic phosphate replacement of originally organic material (Doushantuo-type preservation) has provided some of the most spectacular descriptions of putative Animal embryos, Acritarchs, and small shelly fossils across the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary. Following their discovery and rise to fame in the late 1990s, the fossils from the well-known Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation of China have sparked controversy and debate, especially regarding speculative interpretation as fossil Animal embryos. However, in contrast to the widespread localities yielding macroscopic assemblages, sites yielding Doushantuo-type microscopic assemblages, which could help to resolve some of the most fundamental questions on the evolution of life and clarify the distribution of these organisms in the Ediacaran world, have proved elusive.