Fossils of Chengjiang
Lecture by: Professor Derek Siveter, Professor of Earth Science, University of Oxford
Location: 6/F, Three Pacific Place, Boardrooms 1 & 2, 1 Queen's Road East
Date: Tuesday 21 May 2013
Time: Drinks at 6:30pm, Lecture at 7:30pm
Registration not required
In this informative lecture, Professor Derek Siveter will introduce a globally-significant collection of exceptionally preserved ancient fossils from Chengjiang, Yunnan that provide a key window on early animal life.
Among the hills and lakes of the Chengjiang area, Yunnan Province, South-West China, mudstones of Cambrian age (some 520 million years old} are yielding a spectacular variety of exquisitely preserved fossils. Since the discovery of the first specimens in 1984, many thousands of fossils have been collected, these comprising not just the hard shells of animals, but also their soft tissues in fine detail. This remarkable preservation has produced fossils of outstanding scientific importance and rare beauty.
The Cambrian Period (490-542 million years ago) witnessed the first appearance in the fossil record of nearly all the major animal groups that have sustained global biodiversity to the present day, these combined appearances comprising the so-called ‘Cambrian Explosion’ event. The Chengjiang fossils are testimony to this event and study of them is contributing fundamentally to our understanding of the early evolution of animal life.
Professor Siveter has a career-long interest in animal palaeobiology, especially the fossils of the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian ages (c.400-540 million years before present), and in particular arthropods. He has published extensively, including papers in high-profile scientific journals such as Nature, Science and Proceedings of the Royal Society. During the last 15 years, his research has focused on the faunas of the Herefordshire (Silurian; UK) and the Chengjiang (Cambrian; Yunnan Province, China) exceptional preservation horizons (i.e. Konservat-Lagerstätten).
This event has been organized by the Royal Geographic Society of Hong Kong, and co-presented by the University of Oxford, the China Oxford Scholarship Fund and the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong