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Chengjiang Fossil Site
Site number:
Type of site: Natural
Date: 500 mill yrs
Date of Inscription: 2012
Location: Asia, China, Yunnan, Yuxi
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Description: A hilly 512 ha site in Yunnan province, Chengjiang’s fossils present the most complete record of an early Cambrian marine community with exceptionally preserved biota, displaying the anatomy of hard and soft tissues in a very wide variety of organisms, invertebrate and vertebrate. They record the early establishment of a complex marine ecosystem. The site documents at least sixteen phyla and a variety of enigmatic groups as well as about 196 species, presenting exceptional testimony to the rapid diversification of life on Earth 530 million years ago, when almost all of today’s major animal groups emerged. It opens a palaeobiological window of great significance to scholarship. --WHMNet's description is from WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Within evolutionary biology, and especially paleontology, Chengjiang County is famous for soft-tissue fossil finds, of the Maotianshan Shales, dated to between 525 and 520 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion, which "are as spectacular as the Burgess Shale fauna, and significantly older". These fossils are considered one of the most important fossil finds of the 20th Century. Not only do they contain an exquisite degree of detail, but they also cover a diverse range of fauna, and are of significance in attempts to understand the evolution of life on Earth. The fossils were first discovered by Hou Xian-guang, who is a Professor at Yunnan University, Kunming, where he is Director of the Research Center for Chengjiang Biota. Previously he was a Professor at the Palaeontological Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center ( 2. Wikipedia.
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