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    The Chengjiang Biota is the earliest Phanerozoic soft-bodied fossil assemblage offering the most complete snapshot of Earth's initial diversification, the Cambrian Explosion. Although palaeobiologic aspects of this biota are well understood, the precise sedimentary environment inhabited by this biota remains debated. Herein, we examine a non-weathered core from the Yu'anshan Formation including the interval preserving the Chengjiang Biota. Our data indicate that the succession was deposited as part of a delta influenced by storm floods (i.e., produced by upstream river floods resulting from ocean storms). Most Chengjiang animals lived in an oxygen and nutrient-rich delta front environment in which unstable salinity and high sedimentation rates were the main stressors. This unexpected finding allows for sophisticated ecological comparisons with other Burgess Shale-type deposits and emphasizes that the long-held view of Burgess Shale-type faunas as snapshots of stable distal shelf and slope communities needs to be revised based on recent sedimentologic advances. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Farid Saleh, Changshi Qi, Luis A Buatois, M Gabriela Mángano, Maximiliano Paz, Romain Vaucher, Quanfeng Zheng, Xian-Guang Hou, Sarah E Gabbott, Xiaoya Ma. The Chengjiang Biota inhabited a deltaic environment. Nature communications. 2022 Mar 23;13(1):1569

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    PMID: 35322027

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