on the banks of the Danshui river in Hubei province.
Paleontologists found thousands of fossils in rocks on the bank of the Danshui river in Hubei province in southern China, where primitive forms of jellyfish, sponges, algae, anemones, worms and arthropods with thin whip-like feelers were entombed in an ancient underwater mudslide.
The creatures are so well preserved in the fossils that the soft tissues of their bodies, including the muscles, guts, eyes, gills, mouths and other openings are all still visible. The 4,351 separate fossils excavated so far represent 101 species, 53 of them new.
The fossilised organisms date back to 518m years ago when life on Earth experienced a massive burst in diversity known as the Cambrian explosion. The event, at the dawn of animal life, marked the arrival of all manner of unusual creatures. Many went extinct as evolutionary dead-ends, but others went on to form the first sturdy branches of the tree of life.
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