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The Cambrian Period marks an important point in the history of life on earth it is the time when most of the major groups of animals first appear in the fossil record This event is sometimes called the Cambrian Explosion because of the relatively short time over which this diversity of forms appears A lot can happen in 40 million years the approximate length of the Cambrian period Animals showed dramatic change and diversity during this period of Earths history When the fossil record is studied closely it turns out that the fastest growth in the number of major new animal groups took place during the Tommotian and Atdabanian stages of the Early Cambrian a period of time which may have been as short as five million years Stratigraphic boundaries are determined by the occurrences of fossils In fact much paleontological work is concerned with questions surrounding when and where stratigraphic boundaries should be defined At first glance this may not seem like important work but consider this If you wanted to know about the evolution of life on Earth you would absolutely have to keep track of time Almost every metazoan phylum with hard parts and many that lack hard parts made its first appearance in the Cambrian Some of the odd fossils of the Ediacara biota from the Vendian may also have been animals in or near living phyla However the Cambrian was nonetheless a time of great evolutionary innovation with many major groups of organisms appearing within a span of only forty million years The animals of the Cambrian were developing new ecological niches and strategies -- such as active hunting burrowing deeply into sediment and making complex branching burrows Finally the Cambrian saw the appearance of the coralline red algae and the dasyclad green algae This does not mean that life in the Cambrian seas would have been perfectly familiar to a modern-day scuba diver Although almost all of the living
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