Artistic depiction of Qingjiang biota shows a characteristic early Cambrian life from the well-preserved fossil site.
Photo credit: Dongjing Fu
A newly discovered fossil site in China is full of bizarre, primitive species that have never been found on Earth before. The abundance of creatures includes a prickly, segmented animal known as Mud Dragon, and several jellyfish with preserved tentacles.
Paleontologists discovered this treasure trove of fossils, incredibly well preserved on the banks of the Danshui River in the south of China. Dozens of dozens of creatures date back to the Cambrian era (from 490 million to 530 million years ago), when the earth's biodiversity boomed at unprecedented rates.
Scientists collected hundreds of specimens and identified fossils of 1
"It's a great surprise to find a new deposit with such incredible wealth and abundance of species that are completely new to science," co-author Robert Gaines, a professor of geology Department of Pomona College, California reported Live Science in an email.
Researchers in China discovered the site as they explored nearby Cambrian rocks. During the lunch break at the river, the scientists noticed "a striking pattern of alternating gray and black stripes" in the rocks of the riverbank. This type of sediment pattern points to areas where once mud flows have emerged – currents that may have buried and preserved ancient organisms, Gaines explained.
The scientists began to strip the rock, and in fact they soon discovered the first site of the site Exceptional fossil remains now known as Qingjiang biota, she wrote in the study.