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The Furongian (late Cambrian) Biodiversity Gap : Real or apparent?

  • David A.T. Harper
  • Timothy P. Topper
  • Borja Cascales-Miñana
  • Thomas Servais
  • Yuan Dong Zhang
  • Per Ahlberg
Publishing year: 2019-02-12
Language: English
Pages: 4-12
Publication/Series: Palaeoworld
Volume: 28
Issue: 1-2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Two major, extended diversifications punctuated the evolution of marine life during the Early Palaeozoic. The interregnum, however, between the Cambrian Explosion and the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, is exemplified by the Furongian Gap when there was a marked drop in biodiversity. It is unclear whether the gap is apparent, due to sampling failure or lack of rock, or real — associated with unique and fluctuating environments, a distinctive palaeogeography and extreme climates during the late Cambrian. Indications suggest that there has been little attention paid to this interval compared with those below and above, while some of the classical areas for Cambrian research, such as Bohemia, have poor coverage through the Furongian. Moreover, based on information available in databases and the literature, together with the ghost ranges of many higher taxa through the Furongian, data suggest that biodiversity in this stage has been significantly underestimated. Emphasis, to date, has been placed on widespread, deeper-water dark shale facies of the interval, with generally low diversity faunas, whereas shallow-water communities have often been neglected.


  • Geology
  • Biodiversity
  • Cambrian
  • Extinctions
  • GOBE
  • Palaeoenvironments
  • Radiations


  • ISSN: 1871-174X
Per Ahlberg
E-mail: per [dot] ahlberg [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Lithosphere and Biosphere Science

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