With differentiated tissues and organs, a high-level eukaryotic macroalga Lanceaphyton xiaojiangensis n. gen. n. sp. lived on the middle–late Ediacaran (ca. 560–551 Ma) seafloor in South China. Its body had a pith (perhaps mechanical tissue) and outer tissue (perhaps epidermis and/or cortex). The lance-like macroalga consists of an unbranching thallus that grew over the sediment surface for sunlight and a holdfast grown into sediments to keep the thallus fixed on the seafloor. The pithy stipe (lower thallus) might have served to support the upper pithless thallus for photosynthesis. The holdfast is composed of a tapering pithy rhizome growing down into the sediments, with many filamentous pithless rhizoids dispersedly growing within the sediments. With the differentiated tissues and organs, especially the pith accounting for about half of the width of the rhizome and stipe, Lanceaphyton n. gen. was a high-level eukaryotic macroalga, similar to phaeophytes in morphological features, but further research is needed on its microstructural details. The pithy macroalga shows that the macroalgal pith had emerged in the Ediacaran.
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Vol. 96 • No. 2