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Scientists in China announced that they have discovered what is being described as a “stunning” trove of thousands of fossils on a river bank in China.

The fossils are estimated to be about 518 million years old, and are particularly unusual because the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their skin, eyes, and internal organs, have been “exquisitely” well-preserved and normally stand no chance of becoming fossilised.

More than 20,000 specimens were collected, and a total of 4,351 have been analysed so far, including worms, jellyfish, sea anemones and algae.

Palaeontologists have called the findings “mind-blowing” because more than half the fossils are previously undiscovered species.

The fossils, known as the Qingjiang biota, were collected near Danshui river in Hubei province.

The majority of fossils tend to be of hard-bodied animals, as harder substances, like bones, are less likely to rot and decompose.

Via BBC