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p. 513. The origin of skeletonslocked

  • Michael J. Benton


‘The origin of skeletons’ explores what skeletons are, what the fossil and rock record shows, new molecular evidence, and the heated debates about whether the Cambrian Explosion is real or not. Shortly after the beginning of the Cambrian period, currently dated at 542 million years ago, and some time after the extinction of the Ediacaran organisms, a broad diversity of animals with skeletons appeared in the sea. This dramatic event has been called the Cambrian Explosion, which is documented in unexpected detail by the Chengjiang fauna from Yunnan Province in southern China. The first chordates are shown at these fossil sites, but the sudden diversification of animals with skeletons is still debated.

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