What is the oldest fossil found in NC?
The oldest fossil found in North Carolina was supposed to be a marine worm called Vermiforma antiqua Cloud. It was found by a student named James Wright, at the South Fork of Little River in 1985. It was dated as being 620 million years old and considered to be the oldest fossil found in the US. The Vermiforma are now identified as sinuous markings of a worm and has since been demoted to a trace rather than a body fossil. The latest papers from the trace fossil specialists including Dr. Adolf Seilacher, W. Boulton and Hans Luginsland have further demoted it to be a base of a overlying turbidite worked into bedding layers that were sheered by tectonic motion leaving marks and trace particles resembling worm marks.Therefore, the oldest fossils found in NC are now also of the Ediacaran Period which dates from 635-542 million years, but rather the 545-542 range. The Pteridenium carolinaensis, Sekwia excentrica, Swartpuntia and Oldhamia recta from Stanly County, NC and the Aspidella terranovica from Davidson Co., NC are the oldest body fossils found in North Carolina. They were still alive at the beginning of the Cambrian Explosion of armored predator animals. The overlapping living Ediacaran animals were completely overmatched with no defenses to protect themselves.