Save the World’s Oldest Animal Fossils

Target: Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic China

Goal: Order a halt to phosphate mining in the vicinity of the Doushantuo Formation in Guizhou, China.

China’s southern province of Guizhou might be home to some of the most important fossils in our planet’s history – but not for long. The tiny fossils of Guizhou’s enigmatic Doushantuo Formation are barely the size of a grain of salt, but researchers say they could be as much as 600 million years old. If accurate, this would make these fossils among the oldest evidence of animal life on Earth. There’s no telling what we could learn from these unique relics of our planet’s distant past, but sadly the fossils might not be around for much longer.

A massive phosphate mining operation is currently tearing its way through the Guizhou countryside. According to fossil expert and professor at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology Zhu Maoyan, phosphate mining has already destroyed one of three key fossil sites in Guizhou. The remaining sites are now in imminent danger of destruction at the hands of miners.

If these sites are demolished, the scientific loss would be incalculable, according to Professor David Bottjer from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “If this fossil deposit is lost, we will lose this unique window on evolution of life, which may never be replaced,” he told Science Magazine.

Join us in urging the Chinese government immediately halt phosphate mining near the remaining fossil deposits in Guizhou, and allow scientists to fully investigate these unique remnants of early life.


Dear President Xi Jinping,

China is home to some of the world’s earliest surviving animal fossils. Located in Guizhou, the fossils of the Doushantuo Formation represent some of the most precious relics of early life on Earth. They could be up to 600 million years old, making them some of the oldest fossils ever found. However, these ancient, irreplaceable fossils may soon be destroyed by Guizhou’s phosphate industry. Phosphate miners have already destroyed one of three key fossil sites in the province, and scientists now fear the remaining two could be destroyed next.

Mining represents an important pillar of Chinese economic development, but this can’t come at the expense of the potentially priceless fossils of the Doushantuo Formation. If we lose these fossils, we might never again have an opportunity like this to study early biological evolution. Please do the right thing: order and immediate halt to mining around the Doushantuo Formation and take steps to further safeguard the site for future generations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lorrie Graham

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    please save them china

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