Date and Time
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN
The so-called ‘Cambrian explosion’, typified by celebrated exceptionally preserved deposits such as the Burgess Shale, is widely regarded as capturing the rapid diversification of all the major groups of animals. However, the real Cambrian explosion plays out as a revolution in the fossil record following the origin of the animal skeleton, represented by the abundant ‘Small Shelly Fossils’ which arise some 30 million years before the Burgess Shale. By examining the fine internal structures of these fossils it is possible to piece together the origin of hard parts in animals, the relationships between some major animal groups and the causes of the Cambrian explosion itself.
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