Did the Cambrian Explosion really happen?

A quick flip through any high school biology textbook will inevitably turn up a reference to the Cambrian Explosion, a period about 540 million to 520 million years ago when many groups of animals first arose and diversified. The event is frequently described as rapid and prolific, sparking a chaotic moment in early evolutionary history.

But has there really been a dramatic explosion of biodiversity on Earth during this time?

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