Website Category: The Fossil Record
Area: 5 km2
Criteria: Fossil record (viii)
Location and Values: The Chengjiang Fossil Site protects an outstanding variety of fossils from the earliest part of the Cambrian period, about 530 million years ago. These include nearly 200 species of marine animals, illustrating the rapid diversification of life on Earth at this time. They are exceptionally well preserved, showing hard and soft tissues, and stages in the development of the world’s first vertebrates.
The site is particularly important because it shows the complexity of a marine ecosystem, with a wide range of different species adapted to particular ecological niches and positions in complex food webs that included sophisticated predators.
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description