Early Life's Explosion: The sheer enormity of new body plans and life forms that emerged 540 million years ago, during what's known as the Cambrian explosion, is evident in this simple but rich illustration. Contained in a paper on the origin of central nervous systems, it depicts the organisms that existed prior to the Cambrian explosion (left) and those that followed (right). #Cambrian

Sperm Trajectories, Evolving Humans and a Tomato Tapestry: The Best Scientific Figures of 2012

Early Life's Explosion: The sheer enormity of new body plans and life forms that emerged 540 million years ago, during what's known as the Cambrian explosion, is evident in this simple but rich illustration. Contained in a paper on the origin of central nervous systems, it depicts the organisms that existed prior to the Cambrian explosion (left) and those that followed (right). #Cambrian

Early Life's Explosion: The sheer enormity of new body plans and life forms that emerged 540 million years ago, during what's known as the Cambrian explosion, is evident in this simple but rich illustration. Contained in a paper on the origin of central nervous systems, it depicts the organisms that existed prior to the Cambrian explosion (left) and those that followed (right). #Cambrian

Sperm Trajectories, Evolving Humans and a Tomato Tapestry: The Best Scientific Figures of 2012

Early Life's Explosion: The sheer enormity of new body plans and life forms that emerged 540 million years ago, during what's known as the Cambrian explosion, is evident in this simple but rich illustration. Contained in a paper on the origin of central nervous systems, it depicts the organisms that existed prior to the Cambrian explosion (left) and those that followed (right). #Cambrian

Cambrian Explosion of Life. Approximately 540 million years ago, at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, the fossil record at locations across Earth is marked by the dramatic appearance of complex, diverse, multicellular organisms with hard parts. By the close of the Cambrian Period (490 million years ago), almost every major animal group that exists today - excluding bryozoans - had appeared. Some scientists think the burst in diversity was rapid, maybe as little as 10 million years…

Cambrian Explosion of Life Approximately 540 million years ago, at the…

Elements of the Tommotian-type or small shelly fauna.

Elements of the Tommotian-type or small shelly fauna.

Elements of the Tommotian-type or small shelly fauna.

Elements of the Tommotian-type or small shelly fauna.

Tommotian small shelly fauna

Tommotian small shelly fauna

Microdictyon, an early Cambrian lobopod.  The armour plates along the sides become part of the small shelly fossil fauna

Microdictyon, an early Cambrian lobopod. The armour plates along the sides become part of the small shelly fossil fauna

Tommotian small shelly fauna

Tommotian small shelly fauna

Ichnological record of animal-matground interactions across the transition between Ediacaran, left, and earliest Cambrian, right. Image credit: Luis A. Buatois et al.

A study led by Prof Luis Buatois from the University of Saskatchewan provides new evidence to understand the development of life at Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary times, about 540 million years ago.


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