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Cambrian explosion

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The Cambrian explosion or Cambrian radiation was an event approximately in the Cambrian period when most major animal phyla appeared in the fossil record. [1]

195 relations: Acritarch, Adam Sedgwick, Adaptive radiation, Anabarites, Anabaritid, Anatomy, Andrew Parker (zoologist), Animal, Annelid, Archaeocyatha, Arizona State University, Arkarua, Arthropod, Aspidella, Barnacle, BBC Radio 4, Benthic zone, Bilateria, Brachiopod, British Columbia, Bryozoa, Burgess Shale, Calcimicrobe, Calcium carbonate, Cambrian, Cambrian Stage 2, Cambrian Stage 3, Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, Canada, Carbon, Carbon cycle, Cestoda, Chaetognatha, Charles Darwin, Charles Doolittle Walcott, Charles Lyell, Chemical compound, China, Chlorophyta, Choanoflagellate, Chordate, Clade, Cladistics, Class (biology), Cloudinidae, Cnidaria, Coelom, Coevolution, Collagen, Colony (biology), ..., Complex traits, Concentration, Continent, Convergent evolution, Coprolite, Crown group, Cruziana, Cryogenian, Cyst, Death Valley, Deuterostome, Devonian, Diplocraterion, DNA, Doushantuo Formation, Drag (physics), Earthworm, East Africa, East African Orogeny, Echinoderm, Ecological niche, Ediacaran, Ediacaran biota, Edward Lhuyd, Electron, Embryo, Erosion, Eukaryote, Evolution of the eye, Evolutionary arms race, Evolutionary developmental biology, Evolutionary history of life, Evolutionary radiation, Exoskeleton, Fauna, Feces, Filter feeder, Fish, Flatworm, Flowering plant, Food chain, Fossils of the Burgess Shale, Gastrointestinal tract, Geochemistry, Great Unconformity, Greenland, Grypania, Halkieriid, Harry B. Whittington, Helcionelloida, Horizontal gene transfer, Hox gene, Hydrofluoric acid, Hyolitha, Jellyfish, Kimberella, Kingdom (biology), Lagerstätte, Late Devonian extinction, Linnaean taxonomy, Maotianshan Shales, Marrella, Massive Australian Precambrian/Cambrian Impact Structure, Metamorphism, Methane clathrate, Microorganism, Mineralization (biology), Molecular clock, Molecular phylogenetics, Mollusca, Monophyly, Montana, Mount Cap formation, Mutation, Namacalathus, Natural selection, Neoproterozoic, Niles Eldredge, Notochord, On the Origin of Species, Opabinia, Order of magnitude, Ordovician, Orogeny, Orsten, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxygen, Ozone layer, Palaeoworld, Paleontology, Parenchyma, Parvancorina, Permian–Triassic extinction event, Photosynthesis, Phylogenetics, Phylum, Physics, Phytoplankton, Plankton, Predation, Preston Cloud, Priapulida, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Protein, Protist, Protohertzina, Proton, Protostome, Punctuated equilibrium, Radiometric dating, Roderick Murchison, Rusophycus, Saarina, Scavenger, Sea cucumber, Sea urchin, Self-organization, Signor–Lipps effect, Siliciclastic, Silurian, Sinotubulites, Sirius Passet, Skolithos, Small shelly fauna, Snowball Earth, Spider, Sponge, Spriggina, Starfish, Stephen Jay Gould, Stromatolite, Sweden, Tardigrade, Taxon, Thrombolite, Tommotiid, Trace fossil, Trilobite, Triploblasty, Vernanimalcula, Warrawoona, William Buckland, Wiwaxia, Wonderful Life (book), Yunnan. Expand index (145 more) »


Acritarchs are organic microfossils, present from approximately to the present.

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Adam Sedgwick

Adam Sedgwick (22 March 1785 – 27 January 1873) was a British priest and geologist, one of the founders of modern geology.

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Adaptive radiation

In evolutionary biology, adaptive radiation is a process in which organisms diversify rapidly from an ancestral species into a multitude of new forms, particularly when a change in the environment makes new resources available, creates new challenges, or opens new environmental niches.

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Anabarites is a problematic lower Cambrian genus, and is one of the small shelly fossils.

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The anabaritids or angustiochreids are enigmatic tubular, mineralizing organisms with a trifold symmetry known from their Lower Cambrian fossils.

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Anatomy (Greek anatomē, “dissection”) is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts.

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Andrew Parker (zoologist)

Andrew Parker (born 1967) (Ph.D. Macquarie University) is a zoologist who has worked on Biomimetics.

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Animals are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia.

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The annelids (Annelida, from Latin anellus, "little ring"), also known as the ringed worms or segmented worms, are a large phylum, with over 22,000 extant species including ragworms, earthworms, and leeches.

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Archaeocyatha (or archaeocyathids “ancient cups”) is a taxon of extinct, sessile, reef-building marine organisms of warm tropical and subtropical waters that lived during the early (lower) Cambrian Period.

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Arizona State University

Arizona State University (commonly referred to as ASU or Arizona State) is a public metropolitan research university on five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona.

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Arkarua adami is a small, Precambrian disk-like fossil with a raised center, a number of radial ridges on the rim, and a five-pointed central depression marked with radial lines of 5 small dots from the middle of the disk center.

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An arthropod (from Greek ἄρθρον arthron, "joint" and πούς pous, "foot") is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages.

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Aspidella is an Ediacaran disk-shaped fossil of uncertain (possibly cnidarian?) affinity.

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A barnacle is a type of arthropod constituting the infraclass Cirripedia in the subphylum Crustacea, and is hence related to crabs and lobsters.

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BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history.

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Benthic zone

The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers.

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The Bilateria or bilaterians, or triploblasts, are animals with bilateral symmetry, i.e., they have a head (anterior) and a tail (posterior) as well as a back (dorsal) and a belly (ventral); therefore they also have a left side and a right side.

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Brachiopods, phylum Brachiopoda, are a group of lophotrochozoan animals that have hard "valves" (shells) on the upper and lower surfaces, unlike the left and right arrangement in bivalve molluscs.

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British Columbia

British Columbia (BC; Colombie-Britannique) is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.

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Bryozoa (also known as the Polyzoa, Ectoprocta or commonly as moss animals) are a phylum of aquatic invertebrate animals.

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Burgess Shale

The Burgess Shale is a fossil-bearing deposit exposed in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, Canada.

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Characteristic of the Neoproterozoic and Cambrian periods, the heterogeneous group called calcimicrobes are calcareous colonial microfossils, which include many morphologically dissimilar organisms, whose effect in massive aggregations, in association with shelly metazoans, was to lay down the earliest recognizable reef systems: compare Archaeocyathids.

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Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3.

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The Cambrian Period was the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, and of the Phanerozoic Eon.

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Cambrian Stage 2

Stage 2 of the Cambrian is the unnamed upper stage of the Terreneuvian series.

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Cambrian Stage 3

Cambrian Stage 3 is the still unnamed third stage of the Cambrian.

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Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event

The Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event occurred approximately 488 million years ago (m.y.a.). This early Phanerozoic Eon extinction event eliminated many brachiopods and conodonts, and severely reduced the number of trilobite species.

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Canada is a country located in the northern part of North America.

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Carbon (from carbo "coal") is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6.

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Carbon cycle

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth.

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Cestoda is a class of parasitic worms in the flatworm (Platyhelminthes) phylum, commonly known as tapeworms.

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Chaetognatha, meaning bristle-jaws, and commonly known as arrow worms, is a phylum of predatory marine worms which are a major component of plankton worldwide.

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Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin, (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution.

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Charles Doolittle Walcott

Charles Doolittle Walcott (March 31, 1850 – February 9, 1927) was an American paleontologist, administrator of the Smithsonian Institution from 1907 to 1927, and geologist.

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Charles Lyell

Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, (14 November 1797 – 22 February 1875) was a Scottish geologist who popularised the revolutionary work of James Hutton.

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Chemical compound

A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one element held together by chemical bonds.

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China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary one-party sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around /1e9 round 3 billion.

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Chlorophyta is a division of green algae, informally called chlorophytes.

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The choanoflagellates are a group of free-living unicellular and colonial flagellate eukaryotes considered to be the closest living relatives of the animals.

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A chordate is an animal belonging to the phylum Chordata; chordates possess a notochord, a hollow dorsal nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, an endostyle, and a post-anal tail, for at least some period of their life cycle.

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A clade (from κλάδος, klados, "branch"), also known as monophyletic group, is a group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants, and represents a single "branch" on the "tree of life".

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Cladistics (from Greek κλάδος, cládos, i.e., "branch") is an approach to biological classification in which organisms are categorized in groups ("clades") based on the most recent common ancestor.

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Class (biology)

In biological classification, class (classis) is a taxonomic rank, as well as a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank.

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The cloudinids, an early metazoan family containing the genera Acuticocloudina, Cloudina and Conotubus, lived in the late Ediacaran period and became extinct at the base of the Cambrian. They formed millimetre-scale conical fossils consisting of calcareous cones nested within one another; the appearance of the organism itself remains unknown. The name Cloudina honors the 20th-century geologist and paleontologist Preston Cloud. Cloudinids comprise two genera: Cloudina itself is mineralized, whereas Conotubus is at best weakly mineralized, whilst sharing the same "funnel-in-funnel" construction. Cloudinids had a wide geographic range, reflected in the present distribution of localities in which their fossils are found, and are an abundant component of some deposits. They never appear in the same layers as soft-bodied Ediacaran biota, but the fact that some sequences contain cloudinids and Ediacaran biota in alternating layers suggests that these groups had different environmental preferences. It has been suggested that cloudinids lived embedded in microbial mats, growing new cones to avoid being buried by silt. However no specimens have been found embedded in mats, and their mode of life is still an unresolved question. The classification of the cloudinids has proved difficult: they were initially regarded as polychaete worms, and then as coral-like cnidarians on the basis of what look like buds on some specimens. Current scientific opinion is divided between classifying them as polychaetes and regarding it as unsafe to classify them as members of any broader grouping. Cloudinids are important in the history of animal evolution for two reasons. They are among the earliest and most abundant of the small shelly fossils with mineralized skeletons, and therefore feature in the debate about why such skeletons first appeared in the Late Ediacaran. The most widely supported answer is that their shells are a defense against predators, as some Cloudina specimens from China bear the marks of multiple attacks, which suggests they survived at least a few of them. The holes made by predators are approximately proportional to the size of the Cloudina specimens, and Sinotubulites fossils, which are often found in the same beds, have so far shown no such holes. These two points suggest that predators attacked in a selective manner, and the evolutionary arms race which this indicates is commonly cited as a cause of the Cambrian explosion of animal diversity and complexity.

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Cnidaria is a phylum containing over 10,000 species of animals found exclusively in aquatic (freshwater and marine) environments: they are predominantly marine species.

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The coelom is the main body cavity in most animals and is positioned inside the body to surround and contain the digestive tract and other organs.

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In biology, coevolution occurs when two or more species reciprocally affect each other's evolution.

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Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in animal bodies.

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Colony (biology)

In biology, a colony is composed of two or more conspecific individuals living in close association with, or connected to, one another.

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Complex traits

Complex traits, also known as quantitative traits, are traits that do not behave according to simple Mendelian inheritance laws.

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In chemistry, concentration is the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture.

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A continent is one of several very large landmasses of the world.

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Convergent evolution

Convergent evolution is the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages.

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A coprolite is fossilized feces.

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Crown group

In phylogenetics, the crown group of a collection of species consists of the living representatives of the collection together with their ancestors back to their most recent common ancestor as well as all of that ancestor's descendants.

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Cruziana is a trace fossil consisting of elongate, bilobed, approximately bilaterally symmetrical burrows, usually preserved along bedding planes, with a sculpture of repeated striations that are mostly oblique to the long dimension.

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The Cryogenian (from Greek κρύος (krýos), meaning "cold" and γένεσις (génesis), meaning "birth") is a geologic period that lasted from.

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A cyst is a closed sac, having a distinct membrane and division compared with the nearby tissue.

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Death Valley

Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert bordering the Great Basin Desert.

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Deuterostomes (taxonomic term: Deuterostomia; meaning "second mouth" in Greek) are any members of a superphylum of animals.

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The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic, spanning 60 million years from the end of the Silurian, million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Carboniferous, Mya.

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Diplocraterion is an ichnogenus describing vertical U-shaped burrows having a spreite (weblike construction) between the two limbs of the U. The spreite of an individual Diplocraterion trace can be either protrusive (between the paired tubes) or retrusive (below the paired tubes).

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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a thread-like chain of nucleotides carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.

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Doushantuo Formation

The Doushantuo Formation is a fossil Lagerstätte in Weng'an County, Guizhou Province, China that is notable for being one of the oldest beds to contain minutely preserved microfossils, phosphatic fossils that are so characteristic they have given their name to "Doushantuo type preservation".

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Drag (physics)

In fluid dynamics, drag (sometimes called air resistance, a type of friction, or fluid resistance, another type of friction or fluid friction) is a force acting opposite to the relative motion of any object moving with respect to a surrounding fluid.

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An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented worm found in the phylum Annelida.

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East Africa

East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern region of the African continent, variably defined by geography.

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East African Orogeny

The East African Orogeny (EAO) is the main stage in the Neoproterozoic assembly of East and West Gondwana (Australia–India–Antarctica and Africa–South America) along the Mozambique Belt.

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Echinoderm is the common name given to any member of the phylum Echinodermata (from Ancient Greek, ἐχῖνος, echinos – "hedgehog" and δέρμα, derma – "skin") of marine animals.

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Ecological niche

In ecology, a niche (CanE, or) is the fit of a species living under specific environmental conditions.

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The Ediacaran Period, spans 94 million years from the end of the Cryogenian Period 635 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Cambrian Period 541 Mya.

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Ediacaran biota

The Ediacaran (formerly Vendian) biota consisted of enigmatic tubular and frond-shaped, mostly sessile organisms that lived during the Ediacaran Period (ca. 635–542 Mya).

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Edward Lhuyd

Edward Lhuyd (occasionally written as Llwyd in recent times, in accordance with Modern Welsh orthography) (1660 – 30 June 1709) was a Welsh naturalist, botanist, linguist, geographer and antiquary.

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The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol or, whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge.

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An embryo is an early stage of development of a multicellular diploid eukaryotic organism.

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In earth science, erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that remove soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth's crust, and then transport it to another location (not to be confused with weathering which involves no movement).

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Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells have a nucleus enclosed within membranes, unlike Prokaryotes (Bacteria and other Archaea).

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Evolution of the eye

The evolution of the eye is attractive to study, because the eye distinctively exemplifies an analogous organ found in many animal forms.

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Evolutionary arms race

In evolutionary biology, an evolutionary arms race is a struggle between competing sets of co-evolving genes, traits, or species, that develop adaptations and counter-adaptations against each other, resembling an arms race.

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Evolutionary developmental biology

Evolutionary developmental biology (informally, evo-devo) is a field of biological research that compares the developmental processes of different organisms to infer the ancestral relationships between them and how developmental processes evolved.

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Evolutionary history of life

The evolutionary history of life on Earth traces the processes by which both living organisms and fossil organisms evolved since life emerged on the planet, until the present.

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Evolutionary radiation

An evolutionary radiation is an increase in taxonomic diversity or morphological disparity, due to adaptive change or the opening of ecospace.

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An exoskeleton (from Greek έξω, éxō "outer" and σκελετός, skeletós "skeleton") is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body, in contrast to the internal skeleton (endoskeleton) of, for example, a human.

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Fauna is all of the animal life of any particular region or time.

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Feces (or faeces) are the solid or semisolid remains of the food that could not be digested in the small intestine.

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Filter feeder

Filter feeders are a sub-group of suspension feeding animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure.

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Fish are gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits.

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The flatworms, flat worms, Platyhelminthes, Plathelminthes, or platyhelminths (from the Greek πλατύ, platy, meaning "flat" and ἕλμινς (root: ἑλμινθ-), helminth-, meaning "worm") are a phylum of relatively simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrates.

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Flowering plant

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 295,383 known species.

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Food chain

A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web starting from producer organisms (such as grass or trees which use radiation from the Sun to make their food) and ending at apex predator species (like grizzly bears or killer whales), detritivores (like earthworms or woodlice), or decomposer species (such as fungi or bacteria).

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Fossils of the Burgess Shale

The fossils of the Burgess Shale, like the Burgess Shale itself, formed around in the Mid Cambrian period.

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Gastrointestinal tract

The gastrointestinal tract (digestive tract, digestional tract, GI tract, GIT, gut, or alimentary canal) is an organ system within humans and other animals which takes in food, digests it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste as feces.

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Geochemistry is the science that uses the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems such as the Earth's crust and its oceans.

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Great Unconformity

Of the many unconformities (gaps) observed in geological strata, the term Great Unconformity is applied to either the unconformity observed by James Hutton in 1787 at Siccar Point in Scotland,Rance, H (1999) QCC Press, New York, N.Y. or that observed by John Wesley Powell in the Grand Canyon in 1869.

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Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat,; Grønland) is an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

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Grypania is an early, tube-shaped fossil from the Proterozoic eon.

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The halkieriids are a group of fossil Molluscs (see Calvapilosa) from the Lower to Middle Cambrian.

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Harry B. Whittington

Harry Blackmore Whittington FRS (24 March 1916 – 20 June 2010) was a British palaeontologist who made a major contribution to the study of fossils of the Burgess Shale and other Cambrian fauna.

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Helcionelloida is an extinct group of ancient molluscs (phylum Mollusca).

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Horizontal gene transfer

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) or lateral gene transfer (LGT) is the movement of genetic material between unicellular and/or multicellular organisms other than by the ("vertical") transmission of DNA from parent to offspring.

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Hox gene

Hox genes, a subset of homeotic genes, are a group of related genes that control the body plan of an embryo along the head-tail axis.

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Hydrofluoric acid

Hydrofluoric acid is a solution of hydrogen fluoride (HF) in water.

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Hyoliths are animals with small conical shells, known as fossils from the Palaeozoic Era.

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Jellyfish or sea jelly is the informal common name given to the medusa-phase of certain gelatinous members of the subphylum Medusozoa, a major part of the phylum Cnidaria.

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Kimberella is a monospecific genus of bilaterian known only from rocks of the Ediacaran period.

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Kingdom (biology)

In biology, kingdom (Latin: regnum, plural regna) is the second highest taxonomic rank, just below domain.

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A Lagerstätte (from Lager 'storage, lair' Stätte 'place'; plural Lagerstätten) is a sedimentary deposit that exhibits extraordinary fossils with exceptional preservation—sometimes including preserved soft tissues.

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Late Devonian extinction

The Late Devonian extinction was one of five major extinction events in the history of the Earth's biota.

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Linnaean taxonomy

Linnaean taxonomy can mean either of two related concepts.

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Maotianshan Shales

The Maotianshan Shales are a series of Early Cambrian deposits in the Chiungchussu Formation, famous for their Konservat Lagerstätten, deposits known for the exceptional preservation of fossilized organisms or traces.

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Marrella splendens is an extinct arthropod known from the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia.

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Massive Australian Precambrian/Cambrian Impact Structure

The Massive Australian Precambrian/Cambrian Impact Structure also known as MAPCIS is a proposed impact structure based upon arguments presented by Daniel P. Connelly at Geological Society of America meetings.

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Metamorphism is the change of minerals or geologic texture (distinct arrangement of minerals) in pre-existing rocks (protoliths), without the protolith melting into liquid magma (a solid-state change).

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Methane clathrate

Methane clathrate (CH4·5.75H2O) or (4CH4·23H2O), also called methane hydrate, hydromethane, methane ice, fire ice, natural gas hydrate, or gas hydrate, is a solid clathrate compound (more specifically, a clathrate hydrate) in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar to ice.

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A microorganism, or microbe, is a microscopic organism, which may exist in its single-celled form or in a colony of cells. The possible existence of unseen microbial life was suspected from ancient times, such as in Jain scriptures from 6th century BC India and the 1st century BC book On Agriculture by Marcus Terentius Varro. Microbiology, the scientific study of microorganisms, began with their observation under the microscope in the 1670s by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. In the 1850s, Louis Pasteur found that microorganisms caused food spoilage, debunking the theory of spontaneous generation. In the 1880s Robert Koch discovered that microorganisms caused the diseases tuberculosis, cholera and anthrax. Microorganisms include all unicellular organisms and so are extremely diverse. Of the three domains of life identified by Carl Woese, all of the Archaea and Bacteria are microorganisms. These were previously grouped together in the two domain system as Prokaryotes, the other being the eukaryotes. The third domain Eukaryota includes all multicellular organisms and many unicellular protists and protozoans. Some protists are related to animals and some to green plants. Many of the multicellular organisms are microscopic, namely micro-animals, some fungi and some algae, but these are not discussed here. They live in almost every habitat from the poles to the equator, deserts, geysers, rocks and the deep sea. Some are adapted to extremes such as very hot or very cold conditions, others to high pressure and a few such as Deinococcus radiodurans to high radiation environments. Microorganisms also make up the microbiota found in and on all multicellular organisms. A December 2017 report stated that 3.45 billion year old Australian rocks once contained microorganisms, the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. Microbes are important in human culture and health in many ways, serving to ferment foods, treat sewage, produce fuel, enzymes and other bioactive compounds. They are essential tools in biology as model organisms and have been put to use in biological warfare and bioterrorism. They are a vital component of fertile soils. In the human body microorganisms make up the human microbiota including the essential gut flora. They are the pathogens responsible for many infectious diseases and as such are the target of hygiene measures.

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Mineralization (biology)

In biology, mineralization refers to a process where an inorganic substance precipitates in an organic matrix.

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Molecular clock

The molecular clock is a technique that uses the mutation rate of biomolecules to deduce the time in prehistory when two or more life forms diverged.

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Molecular phylogenetics

Molecular phylogenetics is the branch of phylogeny that analyzes genetic, hereditary molecular differences, predominately in DNA sequences, to gain information on an organism's evolutionary relationships.

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Mollusca is a large phylum of invertebrate animals whose members are known as molluscs or mollusksThe formerly dominant spelling mollusk is still used in the U.S. — see the reasons given in Gary Rosenberg's.

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In cladistics, a monophyletic group, or clade, is a group of organisms that consists of all the descendants of a common ancestor.

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Montana is a state in the Northwestern United States.

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Mount Cap formation

The Mount Cap Formation is a geologic formation exposed in the Mackenzie Mountains, northern Canada.

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In biology, a mutation is the permanent alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA or other genetic elements.

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Namacalathus is a problematic metazoan fossil occurring in the latest Ediacaran.

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Natural selection

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype.

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The Neoproterozoic Era is the unit of geologic time from.

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Niles Eldredge

Niles Eldredge (born August 25, 1943) is a U.S. biologist and paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.

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In anatomy, the notochord is a flexible rod made out of a material similar to cartilage.

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On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species (or more completely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life),The book's full original title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

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Opabinia regalis is an extinct, stem group arthropod found in the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale Lagerstätte of British Columbia, Canada.

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Order of magnitude

An order of magnitude is an approximate measure of the number of digits that a number has in the commonly-used base-ten number system.

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The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six periods of the Paleozoic Era.

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An orogeny is an event that leads to a large structural deformation of the Earth's lithosphere (crust and uppermost mantle) due to the interaction between plate tectonics.

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The Orsten fauna is fossilized organisms preserved in the Orsten lagerstätten of Late Series 3, Stage 4 to Furongian (Upper Cambrian) rocks, notably at Kinnekulle and on the island of Öland, all in Sweden.

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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, sometimes known simply as the Oxford University Museum or OUMNH, is a museum displaying many of the University of Oxford's natural history specimens, located on Parks Road in Oxford, England.

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Oxygen is a chemical element with symbol O and atomic number 8.

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Ozone layer

The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.

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Palaeoworld is a peer-reviewed academic journal with a focus on palaeontology and stratigraphy research in and around China.

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Paleontology or palaeontology is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present).

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Parenchyma is the bulk of a substance.

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Parvancorina is a genus of shield-shaped bilaterally symmetrical fossil animal that lived in the late Ediacaran seafloor.

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Permian–Triassic extinction event

The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr or P–T) extinction event, colloquially known as the Great Dying, the End-Permian Extinction or the Great Permian Extinction, occurred about 252 Ma (million years) ago, forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.

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Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that can later be released to fuel the organisms' activities (energy transformation).

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In biology, phylogenetics (Greek: φυλή, φῦλον – phylé, phylon.

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In biology, a phylum (plural: phyla) is a level of classification or taxonomic rank below Kingdom and above Class.

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Physics (from knowledge of nature, from φύσις phýsis "nature") is the natural science that studies matterAt the start of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynman offers the atomic hypothesis as the single most prolific scientific concept: "If, in some cataclysm, all scientific knowledge were to be destroyed one sentence what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is that all things are made up of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another..." and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force."Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of events." Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves."Physics is one of the most fundamental of the sciences. Scientists of all disciplines use the ideas of physics, including chemists who study the structure of molecules, paleontologists who try to reconstruct how dinosaurs walked, and climatologists who study how human activities affect the atmosphere and oceans. Physics is also the foundation of all engineering and technology. No engineer could design a flat-screen TV, an interplanetary spacecraft, or even a better mousetrap without first understanding the basic laws of physics. (...) You will come to see physics as a towering achievement of the human intellect in its quest to understand our world and ourselves."Physics is an experimental science. Physicists observe the phenomena of nature and try to find patterns that relate these phenomena.""Physics is the study of your world and the world and universe around you." Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines and, through its inclusion of astronomy, perhaps the oldest. Over the last two millennia, physics, chemistry, biology, and certain branches of mathematics were a part of natural philosophy, but during the scientific revolution in the 17th century, these natural sciences emerged as unique research endeavors in their own right. Physics intersects with many interdisciplinary areas of research, such as biophysics and quantum chemistry, and the boundaries of physics are not rigidly defined. New ideas in physics often explain the fundamental mechanisms studied by other sciences and suggest new avenues of research in academic disciplines such as mathematics and philosophy. Advances in physics often enable advances in new technologies. For example, advances in the understanding of electromagnetism and nuclear physics led directly to the development of new products that have dramatically transformed modern-day society, such as television, computers, domestic appliances, and nuclear weapons; advances in thermodynamics led to the development of industrialization; and advances in mechanics inspired the development of calculus.

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Phytoplankton are the autotrophic (self-feeding) components of the plankton community and a key part of oceans, seas and freshwater basin ecosystems.

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Plankton (singular plankter) are the diverse collection of organisms that live in large bodies of water and are unable to swim against a current.

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Predation is a biological interaction where a predator (a hunting animal) kills and eats its prey (the organism that is attacked).

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Preston Cloud

Preston Ercelle Cloud, Jr. (September 26, 1912 – January 16, 1991) was an eminent American earth scientist, biogeologist, cosmologist, and paleontologist.

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Priapulida (priapulid worms, from Gr. πριάπος, priāpos 'Priapus' + Lat. -ul-, diminutive), sometimes referred to as penis worms, is a phylum of unsegmented marine worms.

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Proceedings of the Royal Society

Proceedings of the Royal Society is the parent title of two scientific journals published by the Royal Society.

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Proteins are large biomolecules, or macromolecules, consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues.

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A protist is any eukaryotic organism that has cells with nuclei and is not an animal, plant or fungus.

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Protohertzina is a genus of conodonts (protoconodonts or paraconodonts) or, possibly, Chaetognaths, found at the beginning of the Cambrian explosion.

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Protostomia (from Greek πρωτο- proto- "first" and στόμα stoma "mouth") is a clade of animals.

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Punctuated equilibrium

Punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that once species appear in the fossil record the population will become stable, showing little evolutionary change for most of its geological history.

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Radiometric dating

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.

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Roderick Murchison

Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st Baronet KCB DCL FRS FRSE FLS PRGS PBA MRIA (22 February 1792 – 22 October 1871) was a Scottish geologist who first described and investigated the Silurian system.

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Rusophycus is a trace fossil allied to Cruziana.

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Saarina are tube fossils from the Ediacaran (Vendian) and Early Cambrian marine deposites of the European Russia.

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Scavenging is both a carnivorous and a herbivorous feeding behavior in which the scavenger feeds on dead animal and plant material present in its habitat.

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Sea cucumber

Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class Holothuroidea.

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Sea urchin

Sea urchins or urchins are typically spiny, globular animals, echinoderms in the class Echinoidea.

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Self-organization, also called (in the social sciences) spontaneous order, is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system.

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Signor–Lipps effect

The Signor–Lipps effect is a paleontological principle proposed by Philip W. Signor and Jere H. Lipps which states that, since the fossil record of organisms is never complete, neither the first nor the last organism in a given taxon will be recorded as a fossil.

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Siliciclastic rocks (commonly misspelled siliclastic) are clastic noncarbonate sedimentary rocks that are almost exclusively silica-bearing, either as forms of quartz or other silicate minerals.

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The Silurian is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician Period, at million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Devonian Period, Mya.

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Sinotubulites is a genus of small, tube-shaped shelly fossils from the Ediacaran period.

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Sirius Passet

Sirius Passet is a Cambrian Lagerstätte in Greenland.

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Skolithos (formerly spelled Scolithus or Skolithus) is a common trace fossil ichnogenus that is, or was originally, an approximately vertical cylindrical burrow.

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Small shelly fauna

The small shelly fauna, small shelly fossils (SSF), or early skeletal fossils (ESF) are mineralized fossils, many only a few millimetres long, with a nearly continuous record from the latest stages of the Ediacaran to the end of the Early Cambrian Period.

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Snowball Earth

The Snowball Earth hypothesis proposes that Earth surface's became entirely or nearly entirely frozen at least once, sometime earlier than 650 Mya (million years ago).

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Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom.

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Sponges, the members of the phylum Porifera (meaning "pore bearer"), are a basal Metazoa clade as sister of the Diploblasts.

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Spriggina is a genus of early bilaterian animals whose relationship to living animals is unclear.

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Starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea.

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Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science.

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Stromatolites or stromatoliths (from Greek στρῶμα strōma "layer, stratum" (GEN στρώματος strōmatos), and λίθος lithos "rock") are layered mounds, columns, and sheet-like sedimentary rocks that were originally formed by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled photosynthesizing microbe.

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Sweden (Sverige), officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish), is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.

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Tardigrades (also known colloquially as water bears, or moss piglets) are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals.

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In biology, a taxon (plural taxa; back-formation from taxonomy) is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit.

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Thrombolites are ancient forms of microbial communities that photosynthesize.

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Tommotiids are Cambrian (Terreneuvian) shelly fossils thought to belong to the Brachiopod + Phoronid lineage (Brachiozoa).

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Trace fossil

A trace fossil, also ichnofossil (ιχνος ikhnos "trace, track"), is a geological record of biological activity.

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Trilobites (meaning "three lobes") are a fossil group of extinct marine arachnomorph arthropods that form the class Trilobita.

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Triploblasty is a condition of the blastula in which there are three primary germ layers: the ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.

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Vernanimalcula guizhouena is an acritarch dating from; it was between 0.1 and 0.2 mm across (roughly the width of one or two human hairs).

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Warrawoona is a region of Western Australia in the Pilbara province.

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William Buckland

William Buckland DD, FRS (12 March 1784 – 14 August 1856) was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster.

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Wiwaxia is a genus of soft-bodied animals that were covered in carbonaceous scales and spines.

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Wonderful Life (book)

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a 1989 book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

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Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country.

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Cambrian Explosion, Cambrian radiation, Cambrian revolution, Cambric explosion, Evolution's Big Bang, Evolution's big bang, Evolutionary Big Bang, Evolutionary big bang, Precambrian life.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion

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