Fossilized Soft Tissues Of 518 Million Years Old Were Found In China


A “stunning” trove of thousands of fossils has been discovered by scientists on a river bank in China. It has been estimated that the fossils are about 518 million years old and include the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their eyes, skin, and internal organs, and based on the BBC report, they have been “exquisitely” well preserved, and that is quite unusual.

The findings are considered by paleontologists to be “mind-blowing” because almost all of the fossils are of species that have never been discovered. The fossils are known as the Qingjiang biota, and the place they were found is near Danshui river in Hubei province. About 4,350 specimens out of 20,000 that have been collected were analyzed so far, such as algae, worms, sea anemones, and jellyfish.

One of the fieldwork leaders, Professor Xingliang Zhang from China’s Northwest University said that they would become a “very important source in the study of the early origins of creatures.”

Soft tissues of 518 million years old, belonging to previously-unknown species, have been found in China

A geologist who also took part in the study, Professor Robert Gaines, said that the reason why the discovery is particularly remarkable is that “the majority of creatures are soft-bodied organisms, like jellyfish and worms, which normally stand no chance of getting fossilized.”

Since fossils usually form out of bones because they are hard substances, the majority of the¬†fossils tend to come from animals that have hard bodies. Gaines said that a storm was the reason why the soft tissues were so well preserved. Accordingly, the so-called Qingjiang biota must have been “rapidly buried in sediment.”

The excitement that scientists have is because of the fact that they also have fossils to analyze that come from sea anemone and jellyfish which are described by Professor Gaines as, unlike anything I have ever seen. Their sheer abundance and their diversity of forms are stunning”.


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