Maotianshan shales

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The Maotianshan Shales are a series of lower Cambrian deposits in the Chiungchussu formation,[1] famous for their Konservat Lagerstätten, or high number of fossils preserved in place. The Maotianshan shales form one of some forty Cambrian fossil locations worldwide exhibiting exquisite preservation of rarely preserved, non-mineralized soft tissue, comparable to the fossils of the Burgess Shale. They take their name from Maotianshan Hill (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Màotiānshān) in Chengjiang County, Yunnan Province, China.

The most famous assemblage of organisms are referred to as the Chengjiang biota for the multiple scattered fossil sites in Chengjiang. The age of the Chengjiang Lagerstätte is locally termed Qiongzhusian, a stage indisputably correlated to the late Atdabanian Stage in Siberian sequences of the middle of the Lower Cambrian.[2][3] It dates to between 525 and 520 million years ago - a period situated in the middle of the early Cambrian epoch and at least some 10 million years older than the Burgess Shale. The shales also contain the slightly younger Guanshan biota.[2]

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