The fossil record, including the record of Burgess Shale-type deposits, is biased towards late ontogenetic stages. Larval stages, juvenile and subadult specimens exist but are very rare and often preserved as phosphatic fossils, resulting in biased population structures. Here, we report a new Burgess Shale-type Lagerstätte from Haiyan, China. The Haiyan palaeocommunity is extraordinary in that it is rich in fossils of early and middle ontogenetic stages of various phyla, with eggs also commonly found in the studied interval. This Lagerstätte also hosts a considerable number of new taxa—many related to later biotas of Gondwana and Laurentia. We propose that the deposit may either preserve one of the earliest nurseries in the fossil record or, alternatively, records several attempted invasions. Our study highlights the complexity of biotas and their interactions in the lower Cambrian ocean and calls for a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the observed spatial variation of fossil community composition in the Cambrian.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics