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Cambrian


The Cambrian Period (pronunciation: /ˈkæmbriən/ or /ˈkmbriən/) was the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cambrian lasted 55.6 million years from the end of the preceding Ediacaran Period 541 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Ordovician Period 485.4 mya. Its subdivisions, and its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established (as “Cambrian series”) by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latinised form of Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales, where Britain's Cambrian rocks are best exposed. The Cambrian is unique in its unusually high proportion of lagerstätte sedimentary deposits, sites of exceptional preservation where "soft" parts of organisms are preserved as well as their more resistant shells. As a result, our understanding of the Cambrian biology surpasses that of some later periods.

The Cambrian marked a profound change in life on Earth; prior to the Cambrian, the majority of living organisms on the whole were small, unicellular and simple; the Precambrian Charnia being exceptional. Complex, multicellular organisms gradually became more common in the millions of years immediately preceding the Cambrian, but it was not until this period that mineralized—hence readily fossilized—organisms became common. The rapid diversification of lifeforms in the Cambrian, known as the Cambrian explosion, produced the first representatives of all modern animal phyla. Phylogenetic analysis has supported the view that during the Cambrian radiation, metazoa (animals) evolved monophyletically from a single common ancestor: flagellated colonial protists similar to modern choanoflagellates.


Cambrian Period
541–485.4 million years ago
Є
Mean atmospheric O
2
content over period duration
c. 12.5 vol %
(63 % of modern level)
Mean atmospheric CO
2
content over period duration
c. 4500 ppm
(16 times pre-industrial level)
Mean surface temperature over period duration c. 21 °C
(7 °C above modern level)
Sea level (above present day) Rising steadily from 30m to 90m
Chinese North American Russian-Kazakhian Australian Regional
C
a
m
b
r
i
a
n
Furongian Ibexian (part) Ayusokkanian Datsonian Dolgellian (Trempealeauan, Fengshanian)
Payntonian
Sunwaptan Sakian Iverian Ffestiniogian (Franconian, Changshanian)
Steptoan Aksayan Idamean Maentwrogian (Dresbachian)
Marjuman Batyrbayan Mindyallan
Cambrian Series 3 Maozhangian Mayan Boomerangian
Zuzhuangian Delamaran Amgan Undillian
Zhungxian Florian
Templetonian
  Dyeran Ordian
Cambrian Series 2 Longwangmioan Toyonian Lenian
Changlangpuan Montezuman Botomian
Qungzusian Atdabanian
Terreneuvian
Meishuchuan
Jinningian
Placentian Tommotian
Nemakit-Daldynian*
Cordubian
Precambrian Sinian Hadrynian Nemakit-Daldynian*
Sakharan
Adeladean

  • Amthor, J. E.; Grotzinger, John P.; Schröder, Stefan; Bowring, Samuel A.; Ramezani, Jahandar; Martin, Mark W.; Matter, Albert (2003). "Extinction of Cloudina and Namacalathus at the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary in Oman". Geology. 31 (5): 431–434. Bibcode:2003Geo....31..431A. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0431:EOCANA>2.0.CO;2. 
  • Collette, J. H.; Gass, K. C.; Hagadorn, J. W. (2012). "Protichnites eremita unshelled? Experimental model-based neoichnology and new evidence for a euthycarcinoid affinity for this ichnospecies". Journal of Paleontology. 86 (3): 442–454. doi:10.1666/11-056.1. 
  • Collette, J. H.; Hagadorn, J. W. (2010). "Three-dimensionally preserved arthropods from Cambrian Lagerstatten of Quebec and Wisconsin". Journal of Paleontology. 84 (4): 646–667. doi:10.1666/09-075.1. 
  • Getty, P. R.; Hagadorn, J. W. (2008). "Reinterpretation of Climactichnites Logan 1860 to include subsurface burrows, and erection of Musculopodus for resting traces of the trailmaker". Journal of Paleontology. 82 (6): 1161–1172. doi:10.1666/08-004.1. 
  • Gould, S. J.; Wonderful Life: the Burgess Shale and the Nature of Life (New York: Norton, 1989)
  • Ogg, J.; June 2004, Overview of Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) https://web.archive.org/web/20060423084018/http://www.stratigraphy.org:80/gssp.htm Accessed 30 April 2006.
  • Owen, R. (1852). "Description of the impressions and footprints of the Protichnites from the Potsdam sandstone of Canada". Geological Society of London Quarterly Journal. 8: 214–225. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1852.008.01-02.26. 
  • Peng, S.; Babcock, L.E.; Cooper, R.A. (2012). "The Cambrian Period". The Geologic Time Scale (PDF). 
  • Schieber, J.; Bose, P. K.; Eriksson, P. G.; Banerjee, S.; Sarkar, S.; Altermann, W.; Catuneau, O. (2007). Atlas of Microbial Mat Features Preserved within the Clastic Rock Record. Elsevier. pp. 53–71. 
  • Yochelson, E. L.; Fedonkin, M. A. (1993). "Paleobiology of Climactichnites, and Enigmatic Late Cambrian Fossil" (Free full text). Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology. 74 (74): 1–74. doi:10.5479/si.00810266.74.1. 
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