Ediacaran Community, Proterozoic Eon (2,500 - 542 Million Years Ago)

A rendering of an underwater marine scene from the Proterozoic Eon, featuring a creature that resembles a jellyfish and other organisms.
Smithsonian Institution

Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known organisms and cannot be classified. Scientists have found fossils of these fauna in sedimentary rocks worldwide. Explore the ancient ocean in an image gallery or in our Ocean Over Time interactive.