WHS: Chengjiang Fossil Site 

Today we’re heading back down to Yunnan province, in particular the city of Kunming, which is your base for visiting some unusually spectacular World Heritage Sites…

… but we’ll start with the nearest one, about an hour to the southeast that is low on the Spectacular-O-Meter, rather obscure in fact, unless you are enthralled by the Cambrian fossil period; in which case you probably already know about the

Chengjiang Fossil Site

Chengjiang Fossil Site

The Chengjiang Fossil Site, located in the Province of Yunnan, China, conserves fossil remains which are of exceptional significance. The rocks and fossils of the Chengjiang Fossil Site present an outstanding and extraordinarily preserved record that testifies to the rapid diversification of life on Earth during the early Cambrian period, 530 million years before present.

In this geologically short interval, almost all major groups of animals had their origins. The diverse geological evidence from the Chengjiang Fossil Site presents fossil remains of the highest quality of preservation and conveys a complete record of an early Cambrian marine community. It is one of the earliest records of a complex marine ecosystem and a unique window of understanding into the structure of early Cambrian communities…

Here’s another link with more details:

Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales Fossils

So while this site is indeed extremely important to science, as a tourist destination it has … selective appeal. There’s a fairly small museum where you see some nice fossils, like this,

Chengjiang Fossil Site

or this,

Chengjiang Fossil Site

and there’s a walk around the grounds with placards about the antediluvian life of the region … and that’s about it.

So if you are an archaeophile of the highest order, this should definitely be on your visit list. If you’re anyone else, you’ll probably find it at most mildly interesting; but if you do find yourself with a free afternoon in Yunnan, check it out!

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Alex Curylo

Alex

I go places.

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