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"Mindblowing" Qingjiang fossil site in China could shake up the evolution


Scientists are expressing shock and arrogance over a new fossil record that is revising life half a billion years ago – and possibly stirring up our view of evolution, the Guardian reports . Reported in Science the Qingjiang site in China includes at least 4,351 fossils representing 101 species, 53 of which are new to science. The primitive sponges, algae, jellyfish and other creatures are also captured with incredible detail, with visible details of their mouths, eyes, muscles and gills. And they come from a vital time, the Cambrian explosion, when animal life erupted on earth and rooted the tree of life. The fossils "help us to figure out how complex organs like the brain can be built by blind evolutionary processes," says Martin Smith, a paleontologist who is not involved in the project.

Like all Cambrian life, these small, muddy patches lived at sea, but were forever changed when a mud stream swept them to colder, deeper waters and buried them in sediment with little oxygen to cause decomposition, according to Phys .org. The "maintenance quality is stunning," says Martin, who calls the fossils "finer than a human hair." Study author Dongjing Fu and co-author Xingliang Zhang found the site in 2007 digging shale on the banks of a river and seeing fossils excavated for four years, National Geographic : Now the find has two former fossil deposits China compared the Cambrian, the 508-million-year-old Burgess Shale in Canada and 51

8-million-year-old Chengiang: "I see a bright future," says Fu. "Qingjiang will be the next Burgess Shale." (Read more fossil stories.)

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