Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geosciences

Committee Chair

Nancy W. Hinman

Commitee Members

Michael H. Hofmann, David Patterson, J. B. Alexander Ross, George D. Stanley


Chengjiang Biota, geochemistry, Maotianshan Shale, sedimentology, taphonomy


The University of Montana


The Chengjiang Biota, found in the Early Cambrian Maotianshan Shale (Yunnan, China), represents the Cambrian ôexplosion of life,ö providing a snapshot of the early evolution and development of complex life. This snapshot is possible because high fidelity processes transfer information from living organisms to preserved fossils. Taphonomy is everything that occurred during this information transfer from death to fossilization and discovery, including chemical and/or sedimentological processes. The Chengjiang fossilsÆ biology is well documented and taphonomical processes have been proposed. Tests of these models are limited because the depositional environment remains poorly understood. To fill this gap and better constrain the taphonomy, I examined the sedimentology and geochemistry of the Maotianshan Shale.



© Copyright 2015 Lindsay Ann MacKenzie