Wikipedia:WikiProject Geology/Cambrian explosion

The Cambrian explosion task force is a group of editors aiming to improve Wikipedia's coverage of the Cambrian explosion.


The Cambrian explosion article was reviewed by the scientific journal Nature on December 14, 2005, and found to be heavily error-laden. It has since undergone substantial reworking, but successive editors have struggled to find a compromise between scientific accuracy and easy accessibility.

This task force aims to resolve this trade-off, bring the article first to a "Good Article" standard, and ultimately to a "Featured Article" status worthy of inclusion on Wikipedia's main page.

Hopefully, the task force will create many "good articles" on smaller aspects of the explosion as "colateral damage".


The article must present the subject in a way that is easy for a complete newcomer to understand, while retaining informative content to engage the more advanced reader. This will be accomplished by creating a streamlined main article, with links to in-depth "main articles" addressing the key aspects of the explosion. It is hoped that by providing this "two-tier" approach to the article, a balance between readability and scientific accuracy can be achieved.

Work will take place in two stage: first, the articles to which the main page will link must be created, expanded, and brought up to a standard where they can act to support the main article. Once these pages are in good shape, content can be removed from the main article, which can be restructured as time goes on.

Task listEdit

We are currently in stage one of the construction. Using the information available in the main article, and further material as necessary, we hope to create and expand articles pertaining to all key aspects of the Cambrian explosion.

Please check the table below for an article which interests you or which you could improve. You are also welcome to add to and update the table as needs be.

Priorities and targetsEdit

Article Currently (as of 12 Sep 2008) Target Priority Needs expansion Needs copyediting Expert attention required Comments
Acritarch (edit talk links history) Start B High Yes No No
Anomalocarid (edit talk links history) Start B Low No No No
Arkarua (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Biostratigraphy (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Burgess shale (edit talk links history) Start   GA Top Yes Yes No
Cambrian (edit talk links history) B   GA High Yes Yes No
Cambrian explosion (edit talk links history) B   FA Top No No No
Clade (edit talk links history) Start   GA High No Yes No Merge with Cladistics?
Convergent evolution (edit talk links history) C B High No No No
Diagenesis (edit talk links history) C B High No No No
Doushantuo Formation (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Evolutionary arms race (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Evolutionary radiation (edit talk links history) C B Mid No No No
Fossil embryos (edit talk links history) Stub B Low No No No
Great appendage (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No


Halkieria (edit talk links history) Start   GA High Yes No Yes Possible stem group, appears in small shellies
Halwaxiida (edit talk links history) Start   GA Mid No No No
Lagerstätte (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Lobopodia (edit talk links history) C B Mid No No No
Maotianshan shales (edit talk links history) C B Low No No No
Marrella (edit talk links history) C   GA Low Yes No No Most common organism in burgess shale
Microbial mat (edit talk links history) B   GA High No No Yes Over-reliant on 2 sources, one of which is questionable
Molecular clock (edit talk links history) Start   GA Mid No No No
Molecular phylogenetics (edit talk links history) Start B High No No No
Neoproterozoic (edit talk links history) Start B Low No No No
Odontogriphus (edit talk links history) Start B Low No No No
Orthrozanclus (edit talk links history) Start B Low No No No
Orsten (edit talk links history) Start B High No No No
Parvancorina (edit talk links history) Start B Mid No No No
Phylum (edit talk links history) C B High Yes No No Should discuss the nature of phyla
Pikaia (edit talk links history) Start B Low No No No
Plankton (edit talk links history) C B Mid Yes No No
Radiometric dating (edit talk links history) Start   GA Mid Yes No No Should provide clear details of its limitations and weakensses re. the C. Ex
Radula (edit talk links history) C B Low Yes No No Include commments on its evolution: see Butterfield 2008 in J. of P.
Sirius Passet (edit talk links history) Stub B Low No No No
Skania (edit talk links history) Stub Start Mid Yes No No Needs picture and more information
Stem group (edit talk links history) Stub B Mid Yes No No Needs polishing into better discussion
Trace fossil (edit talk links history) B B Low No Yes No "Evolution" section needs some polish, information could be integrated from elsewhere
Vernanimalcula (edit talk links history) Start   GA High Yes No Yes Both viewpoints should be discussed at greater length
Wiwaxia (edit talk links history) C   GA High Yes No Yes A fossil at the root of the "how high was diversity" debate.

Completed articlesEdit

  • Move articles to this list when they reach the required standard, and contain the necessary explosion-related information.
Article Status
Cambrian substrate revolution (edit talk links history) B
Cloudinid (edit talk links history)   GA
Ediacara biota (edit talk links history)   FA
Kimberella (edit talk links history)   GA
Opabinia (edit talk links history)   GA
Small shelly fauna (edit talk links history)   GA
Spriggina (edit talk links history) B

Main articleEdit

While our attention is currently focussed on the peripheral articles listed above, we are also aiming to take the main article to Good article status – i.e. to meet the criteria below.

1. It is well written:

(a) the prose is clear and the spelling and grammar are correct;
Work in progress...
(b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for:
lead sections
words to avoid
and list incorporation

2. It is factually accurate and verifiable:

(a) it provides references to all sources of information, and at minimum contains a section dedicated to the attribution of those sources in accordance with the guide to layout;
Work in progress...
(b) at minimum, it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons;
Work in progress...
(c) it contains no original research.

3. It is broad in its coverage:

(a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic;
I think so – any suggestions of areas needing coverage are welcome!
(b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).

4. It is neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias.

Hopefully yes

5. It is stable: it does not change significantly from day-to-day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.

No disputes

6. It is illustrated, if possible, by images:[1]

(a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content; and
(b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.[2]
Work in progress


Everybody is encouraged to help out with the tasks listed above, as they wish! You may also wish to add this page to your watchlist to keep an eye on developments.

Anyone wishing to formally indicate their membership of the project is encouraged to add their signature to the list below:


  • Tools: Wikipedia:WikiProject Geology/Cambrian explosion/Tools
  • Hou Xian-guang; et al. (2004). The Cambrian fossils of Chengjiang, China : the flowering of early animal life. Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-0673-3. OCLC 51886320.
  1. ^ Other media, such as video and sound clips, are also covered by this criterion.
  2. ^ The presence of images is not, in itself, a requirement for Good articles. However, if images (including other media) with acceptable copyright status are appropriate and readily available, then some such images should be provided.


Project bannerEdit

Place {{WikiProject Geology|class=|importance=|Cambrian=|Cambrian-importance=}} onto any new article's talk page for it to be recognised and assessed under the scope of this task force. An article's assessment is generated from the class and importance parameters and helps organise relevant articles for improvement. When assessed, the class and importance parameters are filled in, like this:

{{WikiProject Geology|class=Start|importance=Mid|Cambrian=yes|Cambrian-importance=High}}

and the banner looks like this:

WikiProject Geology / Cambrian  (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
Wikipedia:WikiProject Geology/Cambrian explosion is part of WikiProject Geology, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use geology resource. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
  Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
This article is supported by the Cambrian explosion task force (marked as High-importance).

Shortcuts: {{WikiProject Geology}}, {{WPGEOLOGY}}, {{WPGeology}}, {{WP Geology}}

The article is classified in the appropriate subcategories of Category:Cambrian explosion articles. For more information visit the WikiProject Geology assessment page: Wikipedia:WikiProject Geology/Assessment


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