Doushantuo type preservation

Doushantuo type preservation

The preservational mode of the Doushantuo formation involves very early phosphatisation on a cellular level - with cells being replaced by phosphate before they degrade.[1]



The mode of preservation is typically found in shallow, high energy waters, as lenses of phosphate in carbonate rocks.[1] Its occurrence is assisted by high concentrations of phosphate, which are presumably led to precipitate around the degradation products of cells and cell walls.[1]

What is preserved

Cells are preserved at a cellular level, with arguments that sub-cellular structures may even represent cell nuclei.


Although the preservational window is open pretty continually from about 580 million years ago[verification needed] through most of the Cambrian, it tends to preserve microscopic things, such as embryos and bacteria.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Butterfield, Nicholas J. (2003). "Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion". Integrative and Comparative Biology 43 (1): 166–177. doi:10.1093/icb/43.1.166. PMID 21680421. 

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