The fossils are beautifully preserved.

In China discovered thousands of ancient fossils whose age, according to scientists, is about 518 million years. More than half of the species was not known to science.

Scientists admit that shocked by this unprecedented finding. Paleontologists call it one of the most important over the last century, reports the BBC Russian service.

The finding is unique because the soft tissue discovered prehistoric organisms, including the skin, eyes and internal organs are perfectly preserved.

Fossils, known collectively as Zintzen biota, were found in China’s Hubei province.

(Biota – the totality of living organisms, United by a common distribution area in the different geological epochs – approx. Bi-bi-si).


Photo: Ao Sun

In total, there were discovered more than 20 thousand fossils. The researchers analyzed a sample of 4351, among them worms, jellyfish, sea anemones and algae .

According to paleontologists, more than half of species not previously known to science.

They will be an important source in studying the early stages of the origin of living organisms, said in an interview with Chinese researcher at northwestern University Zhang Xinlan.

The results of the study were published in the journal “Science”.


Photo: Robert Gaines

The main uniqueness of the finds lies in the fact that most of the detected organisms – mollusks, for example, jellyfish and worms. The chance of becoming a fossil void, said geologist Robert Gaines, who participated in the study.

A significant part of the fossil record, which scientists usually find, is the solid remains of organisms, because the solid form, for example, bones are more likely to rot and decompose.

Organisms of the biota Zinzan, most likely, was quickly buried under a layer of mud caused by the storm. This can explain the fact that their fossils are so well preserved, said Zhang Xinlan.


Photo: Science Mag/North Western University


Photo: Robert Gaines

Of particular excitement in the scientific world aroused fossils of jellyfish and anemones. According to Robert Gaines, nothing like he had never seen before. “Striking in their large number and diversity of forms,” he said.

Paleontologist Allison Daley, not directly involved in the study said that this is one of the most important finds of the last 100 years.

“I was shocked. Being a paleontologist, I even could not imagine that I will witness the opening of this amazing place. The first time we see the preserved jellyfish. If you think of Medusa, she is soft, fragile, but in this place they have survived incredibly well,” she said.


The artist has depicted his vision of the era
Photo: Dongjing Fu

Now scientists document the remaining fossils and carried out new excavations in the area to find out what were the ancient ecosystem, and how the process of fossilization.

Zhang Xinlan said he can’t wait to start learning new types of organisms. “I always feel the excitement when we find something new,” he said.


The scientists intend to continue their research in this area
Photo: Robert Gaines

The fossils belong to the Cambrian period, which started 541 million years ago. In that period, life on Earth has become much more diverse.

Robert Gaines hopes that the findings of the study will be of interest to all who are not indifferent to science.

“We take for granted the modern variety of wildlife, although everything points to a sharp increase in species extinction. The origin of many animals is associated with a single episode in the history of life the Cambrian explosion. It was nothing like this neither before nor afterwards,” he said.


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