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9.3 Environments through time: 3. The Cambrian event

Syllabus reference (October 2002 version)
3. The Cambrian event
Students learn to: Students:

Extract from Earth and Environmental Science Stage 6 Syllabus (Amended October 2002).  © Board of Studies, NSW.

Prior Learning: Preliminary Module 8.2 (subsection 3) Stage 5 (subsection 5.9.4)
Science Stages 4-5 syllabus: Outcome 5.9 (content: 5.9.4 - natural events)

Background: The Principle of Uniformitarianism, proposed by James Hutton (1726-97) and the Principle of Superposition, proposed by Nicolas Steno (1638-86), along with the principles of inclusions, cross-cutting relationships and fossil succession allow geologists to date rock sequences. Investigating fossil assemblages in stratigraphic sequences of rocks allows the development of a picture of the environment of a fossil organism and an idea of the dangers faced by the fossil organism.

use available evidence, including computer simulations, models and photographs to examine the changes in life forms that occurred during what is commonly referred to as the 'Cambrian event'

To examine the changes in life forms that occurred during Cambrian event you will need to refer to a diverse range of resources.
The following web sites can provide background to assist your understanding of the 'Cambrian event'.

The Cambrian explosion (external website) Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK

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discuss the possible importance of the development of hardened body parts in explaining the apparent explosion of life in the Cambrian period

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deduce possible advantages that hard shells and armouring would have given these life-forms in comparison with the soft-bodied Ediacara metazoans of the late Proterozoic, in terms of predation, protection and defence




Armour plated Animals (external website) BBC Science and Nature, UK

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process information to examine at least one example of a stratigraphic sequence and describe any fossils found in this sequence

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interpret the relative age of a fossil from a stratigraphic sequence

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distinguish between relative and absolute dating

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compare uses of relative and absolute dating methods in determining sequences in the evolution of life forms

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