Tag: Thomas W. Hearing

Tom is a PhD student at the University of Leicester and the British Geological Survey. His research focuses on the Cambrian ‘small shelly fossil’ biota, and on quantifying the environments of the Cambrian radiation. His research occasionally strays into the field of Konservat-Lagerstätten, particularly involving non-biomineralising arthropods, though these forays have so far just been serendipitous. Tom has been keenly interested in geology since his early days of fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and he feels lucky to have been able to pursue a geological career this far.

Contact Details:

Thomas W. Hearing, Department of Geology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK. Email: twh8@le.ac.uk

Patterns in Palaeontology: Environments of the Cambrian explosion

Patterns in Palaeontology: Environments of the Cambrian explosion

Patterns in Palaeontology
by Thomas W. Hearing*1 Introduction: Shimmering curtains of sunlight stream down through the waters of a shallow sea that has been advancing landwards for several million years. This transgression has formed wide areas of shallow continental shelf seas. The sea bed teems with life — some of it familiar, some much less so. The oddities begin on the floor of this tropical sea: a reef built not of corals, but by carbonate-producing microbes and the strange archaeocyathan sponges, alongside creatures that look more conventionally sponge-like but probably aren’t. Streams of seaweed drift on the currents; closer examination reveals small, snail-like shelled molluscs on some of the tendrils. A trilobite scuttles for cover, startled by the flickering shadow passing overhead, and narrowly avoids