The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang, China: The Flowering of Early Animal Life

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Xian-guag Hou
Wiley, 2004 - Science - 233 pages
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The Chengjiang biota is one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries ever made. Among the hills and lakes of Yunnan Province, South China, deposits of ancient mudstone, 525 million years old, have yielded a spectacular variety of exquisitely preserved fossils that record the early diversification of animal life. Since the discovery of the first specimens in 1984, many thousands of fossils have been collected, exceptionally preserving not just the shells and carapaces of the animals, but also their soft tissues in fine detail. This special preservation has produced fossils of rare beauty; they are also of outstanding scientific importance as sources of evidence about the origins of the animal groups that have sustained global biodiversity to the present day.

Much of the scientific documentation of the Chengjiang biota is in Chinese, and this is the first book in English to provide fossil enthusiasts with an overview of the fauna. The aim is to introduce professional and amateur paleontologists, and all those fascinated by evolutionary biology, to the aesthetic and scientific quality of the Chengjiang fossils.

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Review: The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang, China: The Flowering of Early Animal Life

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Beautifully illustrated, highly readable. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Hou Xian-guang 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. He discovered the Chengjiang biota and has studied it for 20 years.


Richard Aldridge is FW Bennett Professor of Geology at the University of Leicester. He specializes in early vertebrates, particularly the extinct conodonts, and also works on a range of exceptionally preserved fossils. He is President of the International Palaeontological Association.


Jan Bergström is Professor of Palaeozoology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. His major paleontological interests are in the evolution of the oldest arthropods and the evolution of life at the beginning of the Paleozoic.


David Siveter is Professor of Palaeontology at the University of Leicester. His main research interests are in Paleozoic arthropods, especially ostracods, and also exceptionally preserved Paleozoic faunas.


Derek Siveter is Assistant Curator at the University Museum of Natural History, and Reader in Earth Sciences, University of Oxford. His research focuses on arthropods, especially those of the Early Paleozoic, together with fossils from several Konservat-Lagerstätten.

Feng Xiang-hong is the Deputy Head of the Research Center for the Chengjiang Biota, Yunnan University, and is in charge of foreign affairs and project organizer for the center. She has been involved with the collection and promulgation of the Chengjiang Biota since its discovery.

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