Abundant tubular macrofossils occur in finely laminated siltstones and shales of the 548–542 Ma Schwarzrand Subgroup, Nama Group, Namibia. The Nama tubes occur in both the Vingerbreek and Feldschuhhorn members commonly in dense populations and always in fine-grained, lower shore-face lithologies deposited below fair-weather wave base. The tubes are preserved mostly as compressed casts and molds that range in width from 0.6 to 2.1 mm; apparently incomplete specimens reach lengths up to 10 cm. All specimens show sinuous bending and occasional brittle fracture, indicating an original construction of strong but flexible organic matter. Feldschuhhorn specimens preserve fine longitudinal pleats or folds that record pliant organic walls, but the older Vingerbreek populations do not. Similarly, some specimens in the Feldschuhhorn Member display branching, while Vingerbreek tubes do not. The abundant Feldschuhhorn tubes are assigned to the widespread Ediacaran problematicum Vendotaenia antiqua; however, the distinctive Vingerbreek population remains in open nomenclature. The most abundant fossils in Nama rocks, these tubes resemble populations in Ediacaran successions from Russia, China, Spain, and elsewhere. Beyond their local importance, then, such tubes may turn out to be the most abundant record of Ediacaran life.
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Vol. 83 • No. 1