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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


External organisations
  • Durham University
  • Northwest University (China)
  • Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • University of Lille Nord de France
  • Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology


  • Biodiversity, Cambrian, Extinctions, GOBE, Palaeoenvironments, Radiations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-12
Issue number1-2
Early online date2019 Feb 12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch