New Burgess Shale find: Maybe the Cambrian (discovery) Era is just beginning
|February 12, 2014||Posted by News under Cambrian explosion, News|
The soft-bodied fossil assemblage is noteworthy for its high proportion of new taxa—which is surprising considering the locality’s close geographical and temporal proximity to the Walcott Quarry—and also for the preservation of previously unknown or unreported anatomical features, and for the presence of taxa previously only known from the early Cambrian of China.
Which is to say that new life forms that challenge prevailing ideas could in fact be right under our noses in what we think are pretty well tapped out areas.
And ones we think must have been dominant may not have been.
Patterns in fossil associations point to the recurrence of a similar community-type across the fossil-rich interval (Supplementary Data 1). While this suggests that relatively consistent taphonomic, ecological and environmental conditions prevailed throughout the studied interval, it also highlights important differences in content between Marble Canyon and other Cambrian soft-bodied assemblages elsewhere. Sessile organisms, in particular sponges and brachiopods, which are especially abundant and diverse at the Walcott Quarry5 and Chengjiang28 (and to a lesser extent at Stanley Glacier10), are consistently rare at Marble Canyon.
This is a time for discovery not dogmatism about what it means.
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