Cambrian explosion

noun

Definition of Cambrian explosion

paleontology

  1. :  the emergence of many new organisms including most ancestral lineages of present-day animal species that occurred at the beginning of the Cambrian period This “Cambrian explosion” marks the advent (at least into direct evidence) of virtually all major groups of modern animals—and all within the minuscule span, geologically speaking, of a few million years. — Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989 … he found a shale outcrop, about the length of a city block, containing an unrivaled array of fossils from soon after the moment when complex life burst forth in dazzling profusion—the famous Cambrian explosion. — Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 2003

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

1977

First Known Use of cambrian explosion

1977


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Cambrian explosion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!