Darwin was puzzled by the paucity of fossils in Precambrian rocks. Twelve years ago, a new occurrence of an enigmatic Precambrian macrofossil (Horodyskia – ‘string of beads’) was described from a quarry near Balfour. The first Horodyskia fossils were found in Montana, and the Tasmanian occurrence is now known to be of similar age. This talk will describe the Tasmanian Horodyskia discovery and geological (and historical) links between Tasmania and Montana. Some results from recent Balfour field work will be presented, emphasising the importance of the site for, perhaps, solving ‘Darwin’s dilemma’.
Peter McGoldrick is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in Earth Sciences/CODES at the University of Tasmania. He taught undergraduate earth science and led research teams investigating supergiant sediment-hosted zinc-lead and copper deposits found in Precambrian rocks in Australia and Zambia. He now helps lead the ‘FrOTHies’ research group at UTas.