The Neoproterozoic-Cambrian and the Permian-Triassic transitions are the most critical intervals during earth history. Many important discoveries and advances in understanding the history of life have come from these two intervals in China. The most important examples include the Ediacaran phosphatized embryo fossils, the famous Early Cambrian Chengjiang biota, and the most extensively studied Meishan section to understand the largest mass extinction. Recent studies indicate that some biological, geological and geochemical events such as the presence of united continents, global glaciation, intensive volcanism, biotic mass extinctions, radiations and associated C- O-, S-, and Sr-isotope fluctuations around the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition also occurred in the Permian-Triassic transitions. Thus, the stratigraphic records in these two transitions represent a massive archive of unique natural experiments on the coupled earth-life system.
Shen Shuzhong, Zhu Maoyan, Douglas H. Erwin, Xiao Shuhai, Liu Yu, Richard Lane.
National Natural Science Foundation of China
National Science Foundation, USA
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ministry of Science and Technology of China
Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy