THE FOSSIL COLLECTION
RADIATION OF ANIMAL LIFE INTO PHYLA
This model bears our fossils and represents the radiation of animal life into distinct phyla. The major phyla first appeared in the Cambrian period. Then followed further radiation from the simplest forms of life to innumerable kinds of organisms, increasingly complex and adapted to widely diverse habitats. The presence of fossils on the model indicates the periods when fossils were abundant. In the Paleozoic, at the base of the branches, fossils were rare. Some whole branches are bare because these animals only had soft bodies without skeletons and did not fossilise; our understanding of their evolution is based solely on our knowledge of living species.
Model sculpted by Ewen Taylor