Indiana Nedin and the Temple of Kaili
OK, I'm back, after several months of work and travel, which included losing the top of the Eiffel Tower, and finding it again, avoiding an
famous fossil sites wot I have visited, the photo above (taken a few years ago now) is of me doing my Indiana Jones impression on a hilltop at the site of the Kaili Formation in Guizhou province, southwest China, some 550 kilometres ENE of Kunming and the Changjiang fauna.
The Kaili formation is basal Middle Cambrian in age (see figure at right) and contains the Kaili Biota, a Changjiang/Burgess Shale type lagerstätte. Given it's age, the biota sits midway in age between the Lower Cambrian Changjiang fauna and the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale fauna.
As would be expected, the Kaili biota shows significant overlap with both the Chengjiang and Burgess faunas in terms on genera in common. Wikipedia, suggests that of the (quite diverse) 110 genera occurring in the Kaili biota, 30 are shared with the Chengjiang fauna, and 40 are shared with the Burgess fauna.
The Kaili biota is thought to represent an outer-shelf environment and contains large numbers of planktonic trilobites, and eocrinoids, along with a range of soft bodied forms such as neroiids, Wiwaxia and Marrella
However, that's not what I want to talk about. See the village to my right in the photo above (click on the photo to enlarge)? That was our way down from the site. That's what I want to talk about because when we entered the village we were greeted with this:
We had entered a village of the Mountain Miao Minority Peoples of Guizhou, and they laid on a traditional welcome ceremony for us. This started with two local girls in full traditional costume offering food and drink to each person as they entered. The traditional dress included amazing jewelry in solid silver! On this occasion we were offered fish and some lethal alcoholic local brew from a ceremonial horn.
Once inside we were treated to a series of traditional dances, again performed by the girls of the village complete with elaborate gorgeous silver jewelry.
We were not informed that this was going to happen so it was a complete surprise. It was an amazing experience, and was the perfect end to the day.
ZHAO Yuanlong, ZHU Maoyan, Loren E. BABCOCK, YUAN Jinliang, Ronald L. PARSLEY, PENG Jin1, YANG Xinglian1, WANG Yue1 (2005) Kaili Biota: A Taphonomic Window on Diversification of Metazoans from the Basal Middle Cambrian: Guizhou, China. Acta Geologica Sinica; 79(6) 751–765. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-6724.2005.tb00928.x