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IGCP 668 - Equatorial Gondwanan history and Early Palaeozoic Evolutionary Dynamics

Project Updates - 2021

The 2021 project meeting was hosted online by Japan's University of Tsukuba. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss recent progress in the fields of Cambrian and Ordovician geology, geochronology, petrology, and palaeontology and to hold workshops focused on databases and collection management/sharing. The meeting had several oral and poster sessions and counted with several dozens of participants.

Learn more about IGCP 668 Project here




Brief outline of the project

Scientific studies of ancient changes in Earth’s physical environment and biota demonstrate the relevance of Earth’s past for our planet’s future. An important ancient interval of transition occurred in the later Cambrian and early Ordovician, some 500 to 450 million years ago.

It included change from repeated intervals of evolutionary “boom and bust” (rapid evolutionary radiation followed by dramatic collapse of diversity) in Cambrian shallow seas into a more stable and enduring biota in the Ordovician and thereafter. This change was linked to a late Cambrian peak and early Ordovician decline in global explosive volcanism that is recorded in particular detail in the equatorial Gondwanan terrane of Sibumasu: Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Baoshan, China. In these areas fossils are repeatedly interbedded with datable volcanic ashes.

Global volcanism also resulted in rapid changes in atmospheric CO2, and in widespread marine anoxia. The relationship between such environmental stresses and faunal turnover has societal significance today, but our ability to learn from this instructive episode is hindered by a lack of high-precision temporal resolution. The project will coordinate international effort to realize the research and educational potential of the Sibumasu record in its equatorial Gondwanan and global context.

The co-leaders are internationally recognized researchers in these topic areas from leading academic institutions in Thailand, Myanmar, China, Japan and United States of America.

Related Information

  • Duration: 2018-2022
  • IGCP Theme: Global Change
  • Website


  • Prof. Nigel Hughes (United States)
    Address: Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA


An animated series called The Ocean on Top of Our Mountain

These animated series come to be at the top of the world’s highest mountains through the adventures of a village girl and a fossil trilobite.

This project is a part of IGCP project 668, which concerns ancient environmental change in South and Southeast Asia, and aims to share our discoveries with those to live in the areas of interest