Dr Maoyan Zhu

Professor of Geology 

Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology

Chinese Academy of Sciences

39 East Beijing Road

Nanjing, 210008


Tel: 025 8328 2159

Research Areas

Focusing on research of the Earth-Life System (ELS) evolution during the Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic Transition (NPT) through multidisciplinary approach, covering the stratigraphy, origin and early evolution of animals, palaeoecology, sedimentology, geochemistry, biogeochemical cycling and palaeoenvironmental changes.


1989.9-1992.9: Nanjing Institute of Geology & Palaeontology (CAS); Paleontology;  Ph. D.

1985.8-1988.7: Changchun College of Geology;                                 Paleontology;  M. Sc.

1981.9-1985.7: Changchun College of Geology;                                 Geology;         B. Sc.

Honors & Distinctions

2016:             The First Grade Prize of Sciences and Technology, Jiangsu Province

2015:       The Second Grade Prize of Sciences and Technology, Guizhou Province

2013-:            International corresponding member of Academy of Science Göttingen

2009:             Yin Zanxun Award for Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Palaeontological Society of China

2007-2011:    The National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars

2003, 2015:   The Second Grade Prize of Sciences and Technology, Guizhou Province

1998-:            The CAS Hundred Talents, Chinese Academy of Sciences

1997:             The Top Grade Prize of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

1997:             The Group Prize of Brilliant Contribution, Qiu Shi Sciences & Technologies Foundation

 (Hong Kong)

Professional service

2020.8-           Chair, International Subcommission on Cryogenian Stratigraphy, ICS

2020.8-           Vice-Chair, International Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy, ICS

2013-              Member, the Korea-China Joint Committee for Basic Scientific Research

2013-              Chair,International Working Group on Terreneuvian Series and Fortunian Stage, ISCS, ICS, IUGS

2012-              Voting Member, International Subcommission on Ediacaran Stratigraphy, IUGS

2004-              Voting Member, International Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy, ICS, IUGS

2008-2012:     Voting Member, International Subcommission on Neoproterozoic Stratigraphy. ICS, IUGS

2005-2008      Chair, International Working Group on Subdivision of the Lower Half of Cambrian. ICS, IUGS

2004-2008:     Voting Member, International Subcommission on Ediacaran Stratigraphy, ICS, IUGS

Editorial service

2021-:              Editor-in-Chief, Global and Planetary Change (International)

2019-:              Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Stratigraphy (Chinese)

2018-:              Associate Editor-in-Chief, Science China: Earth Science (International) 

2014-:              Journal of Earth Sciences (International)

2014-2018:      Palaeoworld (International)

2007-:              Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (International)

2007-2018:      Acta Palaeontologica Sinica (Chinese)

2006-2017:      Palaeontologica Electronica (International)

2003-2018:      Journal of Palaeogeography (International)

2008-2014:      Chinese Science Bulletin (Geosciences) (International)

2005-2010:      Progress in Nature Sciences (International)

Quest editor-in-chief: <Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology> (2020, 2014, 2007), <Geological Magazine> (2017), <Journal of Earth Science> (2016), <Precambrian Research> (2013), <Bulletin of Geosciences>(2012), <Acta Palaeontologica Sinica>(2010), <Palaeoworld>(2006,2001), <Progress in Nature Sciences> (2004). 

Recent publications


1.       Aria, C. *, Zhao, F., Zhu, M. *, Fuxianhuiids are mandibulates and share affinities with total-group Myriapoda. Journal of the Geological Society,

2.       Chen, B., Hu, C., Mills, B.J.W., He, T., Andersen, M.B., Chen, X., Liu, P., Lu, M., Newton, R.J., Poulton, S.W., Shields, G.A., Zhu, M. *, A short-lived oxidation event during the early Ediacaran and delayed oxygenation of the Proterozoic ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 577(2022), 117274.

3.       Cui, H., Kaufman, A. J., Xiao, S., Zhou, C., Zhu, M., Cao, M., Loyd, S., Crockford, P., Liu, X.-M., Goderis, S., Wang, W., Guan, C., Dynamic interplay of biogeochemical C, S, and Ba cycles in response to Shuram oxygenation event. Journal of the Geological Society, (2021) jgs2021-081.

4.       Li, C., Zhu, M., Feng, Q., Clousen, S., The co-evolution of life and environments in South China from Snowball Earth to Cambrian Explosion. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 563 (2021), 110181.

5.       Miao, L., Moczydłowska, M., M. Zhu*, A diverse organic-walled microfossil assemblage from the Mesoproterozoic Xiamaling Formation, North China. Precambrian Research, 360 (2021), 106235.

6.       Shields, Graham A, Robin A Strachan, Susannah M Porter, Galen P Halverson, Francis A Macdonald, Kenneth A Plumb, Carlos J De Alvarenga, Dhiraj M Banerjee, Andrey Bekker, Wouter Bleeker, Alexander Brasier, Partha P Chakraborty, Alan S Collins, Kent Condie, Kaushik Das, David AD Evans, Richard Ernst, Anthony E Fallick, Hartwig Frimmel, Reinhardt Fuck, Paul F Hoffman, Balz S Kamber, Anton B Kuznetsov, Ross N Mitchell, Daniel G Poiré, Simon W Poulton, Robert Riding, Mukund Sharma, Craig Storey, Eva Stueeken, Rosalie Tostevin, Elizabeth Turner, Shuhai Xiao, Shuanhong Zhang, Ying Zhou, Maoyan Zhu, A template for an improved rock-based subdivision of the pre-Cryogenian time scale. Journal of the Geological Society, 2021,

7.       Yang, C.*, Rooney, A.D.*, Condon, D.J., Li, X.-H., Grazhdankin, D. V, Bowyer, F.T., Hu, C., Macdonald, F.A., and Zhu, M.*, The tempo of Ediacaran evolution. Science Advances, 7(2021), eabi9643.

8.       Yang, Y., Zhang, C., Lenton, T. M., Yan, X., Zhu, M., Zhou, M., Tao, J., Phelps, T. J., Cao, Z., The evolution pathway of ammonia-oxidizing archaea shaped by major geological events. Molecular Biology and Evolution, msab129 (2021),

9.       Zeng, H., Zhao, F.-C., Yin, Z.-J., Zhu, M.-Y., A new early Cambrian bivalved euarthropod from Yunnan, China and general interspecific morphological and size variations in Cambrian hymenocarines. Palaeoworld, 30(2021), 387-397.

10.    Zhao, H., Zhang, S., Zhu, M., Ding, J., Li, H., Yang, T., Wu, H., Paleomagnetic insights into the Cambrian biogeographic conundrum: Did the North China Craton link Laurentia and East Gondwana? Geology, 49(4) (2021): 372-376.

11.    Zhu, M., Babcock, L.E., Peng, S., Ahlberg, P., Reply to ‘Uppermost Cambrian carbon chemostratigraphy: the HERB and undocumented TOCE events are not synonymous’. Geological Magazine, 158(2021):1323–1326.



12.    Aria, C., Zhao, F., Zeng, H., Guo, J., Zhu, M. *, Fossils from South China redefine the ancestral euarthropod body plan. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 20(1) (2020), 1-17.

13.    Bottjer, D.J., Yin, Z., Zhao, F., Zhu, M., Comparative taphonomy and phylogenetic signal of phosphatized Weng’an and Kuanchuanpu Biotas. Precambrian Research, 2020, 105408.

14.    Guilbaud, R., Poulton, S.W., Thompson, J., Husband, K. F., Zhu, M., Zhou, Y., Shields, G. A., Lenton, T. M., Phosphorus-limited conditions in the early Neoproterozoic ocean maintained low levels of atmospheric oxygen. Nature Geoscience, 13(2020), 296-301.

15.    Hu, C., Zhu, M.*, Lithofacies and glacio-tectonic deformation structures of the Tiesi'ao/Dongshanfeng Formations on the Yangtze Block, South China: Implications for Sturtian Glaciation dynamics. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 538 (2020), 109481.

16.    Rooney, A. D., Yang, C., Condon, D.J., Zhu, M., Macdonald, F. A., U-Pb and Re-Os geochronology tracks stratigraphic condensation in the Sturtian snowball Earth aftermath. Geology, 48(2020), 625-629.

17.    Sun, H., Zhao, F., Steiner, M., Li, G., Na, L., Pan, B., Yin, Z., Zeng, H., Van Iten, H., Zhu, M.*, Skeletal faunas of the lower Cambrian Yu'anshan Formation, eastern Yunnan, China: Metazoan diversity and community structure during the Cambrian Age 3. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 542 (2020), 109580.

18.    Sun, W., Yin, Z., Cunningham, J. A., Liu, P., Zhu, M., Donoghue, P. C.J., Nucleus preservation in early Ediacaran Weng'an embryo-like fossils, experimental taphonomy of nuclei and implications for reading the eukaryote fossil record. Interface Focus, 10(2020), 20200015.

19.    Wei, G.-Y., Ling, H.-F., Shields, G.A., Chen, T.Y., Lechte, M., Chen, X., Qiu, C., Lei, H., Zhu, M., Long-term evolution of terrestrial inputs from the Ediacaran to early Cambrian: Clues from Nd isotopes in shallow-marine carbonates, South China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 535(2019), 109367.

20.    Yang, C., Li, X.-H., Li, Z.-X., Zhu, M., Lu, K., Provenance Evolution of Age‐Calibrated Strata Reveals When and How South China Block Collided With Gondwana. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(2020), e2020GL090282.

21.    Yin, Z., Sun, W., Liu, P., Zhu, M., Donoghue, P. C.J., Developmental biology of Helicoforamina reveals holozoan affinity, cryptic diversity, and adaptation to heterogeneous environments in the early Ediacaran Weng’an biota (Doushantuo Formation, South China). Science Advances, 6(24) (2020), eabb0083.

22.    Zeng, H., Zhao, F., Niu, K., Zhu, M., Huang, D., An early Cambrian euarthropod with radiodont-like raptorial appendages. Nature, 588(2020), 101-105.

23.    Zeng, H., Zhao, F.-C., Yin, Z.-J., Zhu, M.-Y., A new early Cambrian bivalved euarthropod from Yunnan, China and general interspecific morphological and size variations in Cambrian hymenocarines. Palaeoworld, 2020, 

24.    Zhou, Y. *, Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E., Zhu, M.*, Ling, H., Manning, C., Li, D., He, T., Shields, G.A., Reconstructing Tonian seawater 87Sr/86Sr using calcite microspar. Geology, 48(2020), 462-467.



25.    He, T. *, Zhu, M.*, Mills, B. J.W., Wynn, P. M., Zhuravlev, A. Yu., Tostevin, R., Pogge von Strandmann, P. A. E., Yang, A., Poulton, S. W., Shields, G. A.*, Possible links between extreme oxygen perturbations and the Cambrian radiation of animals. Nature Geoscience, 12(2019), 468-474.

26.    Miao, L., Moczydłowska, M.*, Zhu, S., Zhu, M.*, New record of organic-walled, morphologically distinct microfossils from the late Paleoproterozoic Changcheng Group in the Yanshan Range, North China. Precambrian Research, 321 (2019), 172-198.

27.    Shields, G.A.*, Mills, B.J.W.*, Zhu, M.*, Raub, T.D., Daines, S., Lenton, T.M., Unique Neoproterozoic carbon isotope excursions sustained by coupled evaporite dissolution and pyrite burial. Nature Geoscience, 12(2019), 823-827.

28.    Sun, H., Yin, Z., Li, G., Zhao, F., Zeng, H., Zhu, M., Periodic shell decollation as an ecology-driven strategy in the early Cambrian Cupitheca. Palaeontology, 2019, 63, 431-442.

29.    Sun, W.C., Yin, Z.J., Donoghue, P., Liu, P.J., Shang, X.D., Zhu, M.Y., Tubular microfossils from the Ediacaran Weng’an Biota (Doushantuo Formation, South China) are not early animals. Palaeoworld, 28(2019), 469-477.

30.    Yin, Z., Vargas, K., Cunningham, J., Bengtson, S., Zhu, M., Marone, F., Donoghue, P., The Early Ediacaran Caveasphaera Foreshadows the Evolutionary Origin of Animal-like Embryology. Current Biology, 29(2019), 4307-4314.

31.    Zhang, T., Yuan, D., Xie, J., Lei, Y., Li, J., Fang, G., Ling, T., Liu, J., Cui, Y., Zhang, M., Xiao, Y., Xu, Y., Zhang, J., Zhu, M., Zhan S., Li, S., Evolution of the Cholesterol Biosynthesis Pathway in Animals. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 36(2019), 2548-2556.

32.    Zhu, M., Yang, A., Yuan, J., Li, G., Zhang, J., Zhao, F., Ahn, S.-Y., Miao, L., Cambrian integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China. Sci China Earth Sci, 62 (2019), 25-60.

朱茂炎, 杨爱华, 袁金良, 李国祥, 张俊明, 赵方臣, Ahn, Soo-Yeun, 苗兰云, 中国寒武纪综合地层和时间框架。中国科学:地球科学, 49 (2019), 26-65

33.    纪秋梅,吕苗,张俊明,胡春林,朱茂炎*,埃迪卡拉纪全球成磷事件沉积地球化学模型探讨:以扬子板块不同相区陡山沱组含磷岩层研究为实例。高校地质学报25 (2019), 068-080

34.    朱茂炎,赵方臣,殷宗军,曾晗,李国祥,中国的寒武纪大爆发研究: 进展与展望。中国科学:地球科学, 49 (2019), 1455-1490



35.    Li, C., Cheng, M., Zhu, M., Lyon, T.W., Heterogeneous and dynamic marine shelf oxygenation and coupled early animal evolution. Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, 2(2) (2018), 279-288.

36.    Sun, H., Malinky, J.M., Zhu, M., Huang, D., Palaeobiology of orthothecide hyoliths from the Cambrian Manto Formation of Hebei Province, North China. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 63 (2018), 87-101.

37.    Sun, H., Smith, M.R., Zeng, H., Zhao, F., Li, G., Zhu, M., Hyoliths with pedicles illuminate the origin of the brachiopod body plan. Proc. R. Soc. B, 285 (2018), 20181780.

38.    Wang, D., Ling, H., Struck, U., Zhu, X.-K., Zhu, M., He, T., Yang, B., Gamper, A., Shields, G.A., Coupling of ocean redox and animal evolution during the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition. Nature Communications, 9 (2018), 2575.  

39.    Yang, C., Li, X.H., Zhu, M., Condon, D.J., Chen, J., Geochronological constraint on the Cambrian Chengjiang biota, South China Journal of the Geological Society, 175(2018), 659-666.

40.    Yin, Z., Zhao, D., Pan, B., Zhao, F., Zeng, H., Li, G., Bottjer, D.J., Zhu, M., Early Cambrian animal diapause embryos revealed by X-ray tomography. Geology, 46(2018), 387-390.

41.    Zeng, H., Zhao, F., Yin, Z., Zhu, M., A new radiodontan oral cone with a combination of anatomical features from the early Cambrian Guanshan Lagerstätte, eastern Yunnan, South China. Journal of Paleontology, 92 (2018), 40-48.

42.    Zeng, H., Zhao, F., Yin, Z., Zhu, M., Morphology of diverse radiodontan head sclerites from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstätte, south-west China. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 16 (2018), 1-37.

43.    胡春林,赵方臣,纪秋梅,朱茂炎, 宁镇山脉的盖帽碳酸盐岩。地层学杂志42 (2018), 381-392

44.    朱茂炎, 虫子的一小步, 动物演化史上的一大步。科学通报63 (2018), 2197-2198



45.    Ahn, A.Y., Zhu, M., Lowermost Cambrian acritarchs from the Yanjiahe Formation, South China: implication for defining the base of the Cambrian in the Yangtze Platform. Geological Magazine, 154 (2017), 1217-1231.

46.    Hu, S.-X., Zhu, M.-Y., Zhao, F.-C., Steiner, M., A crown group priapulid from the early Cambrian Guanshan Lagerstätte. Geological Magazine, 154 (2017), 1329–1333.

47.    Kruse, P. D., Zhuravlev, A. Yu., Parkhaev, P. Yu., Zhu, M., Comment: A new lower Cambrian shelly fossil biostratigraphy for South Australia by Marissa J. Betts, John R. Paterson, James B. Jago, Sarah M. Jacquet, Christian B. Skovsted, Timothy P. Topper & Glenn A. Brock, Gondwana Research, 44 (2017), 258-261.

48.    Wood, R. Zhuravlev, A.Yu., Sukhov, S.S., Zhu, M., and Zhao, F., Demise of Ediacaran dolomitic seas marks widespread biomineralisation on the Siberian platform. Geology, 45 (2017), 27-30.

49.    Yang, C., Li, X.-H., Zhu, M., Condon, D., SIMS U–Pb zircon geochronological constraints on upper Ediacaran stratigraphic correlations, South China. Geological Magazine, 154 (2017), 1202–1216.

50.    Yang, C., Zhu, M., Condon, D.J., Li, X.-H., Geochronological constraints on stratigraphic correlation and oceanic oxygenation in Ediacaran-Cambrian transition in South China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 140 (2017), 75–81.

51.    Yin, Z., Cunningham, J.A., Vergas, K., Bengtson, S., Zhu, M., Donoghue, P.C.J., Nuclei and nucleoli in embryo-like fossils from the Ediacaran Weng’an Biota. Precambrian Research, 301 (2017), 145-151.

52.    Zeng, H., Zhao, F., Yin, Z., Zhu, M., Appendages of an early Cambrian metadoxidid trilobite from Yunnan, SW China support mandibulate affinities of trilobites and artiopods. Geological Magazine, 154 (2017), 1306-1328.

53.    Zhao, F., Smith, M.R., Yin, Z., Zeng, H., Li G., Zhu, M., Orthrozanclus elongata n. sp. and the significance of sclerite-covered taxa for early trochozoan evolution. Scientific Reports, 7 (2017), 16232. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16304-6.

54.    Zhu, M., Li, X.-H., Introduction: from snowball Earth to the Cambrian explosion–evidence from China. Geological Magazine, 154 (2017), 1187–1192.

55.    Zhu, M., Zhuravlev, A.Yu., Wood, R.A., Zhao, F., Sukhov, S.S., A deep root for the Cambrian explosion: Implications of new bio- and chemostratigraphy from the Siberian Platform. Geology, 45 (2017), 459-462.



56.    Duda, J.-P., Zhu, M., Reitner, J., Depositional dynamics of a bituminous carbonate facies in a tectonically induced intra-platform basin: the Shibantan Member (Dengying Formation, Ediacaran Period). Carbonate Evaporates, 31 (2016), 87–99.

57.    He, T., Zhou, Y., Vermeesch, P., Rittner, M., Miao, L., Zhu, M., Carter, A., von Strandmann, P. A.E. P., Shields, G.A., Measuring the ‘Great Unconformity’ on the North China Craton using new detrital zircon age data. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 448 (2016), 145-159.

58.    Li, C., Zhu, M. Y., Chu, X. L., Atmospheric and Oceanic Oxygenation and Evolution of Early Life on Earth: New Contributions from China. Journal of Earth Science, 27(2) (2016), 167–169.

59.    Luo, C., Zhu, M., Reitner, J., The Jinxian Biota revisited: taphonomy and body plan of the Neoproterozoic discoid fossils from the southern Liaodong Peninsula, North China. Palaeontologische Zeitschrift, 90 (2016), 205-224.

60.    Och, L.M., Cremonese, L., Shields-Zhou, G.A., Poulton, S.W., Struck, U., Ling, H., Li, D., Chen, X., Manning, C., Thirlwall, M., Strauss, H., Zhu, M., Palaeoceanographic controls on spatial redox distribution over the Yangtze Platform during the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition. Sedimentology, 63 (2016), 378-410.

61.    Yang, A., Zhu, M., Zhuravlev, A. Y., Yuan, K., Zhang, J., Chen, Y., Archaeocyathan zonation of the Yangtze Platform: Implications for regional and global correlation of lower Cambrian stages. Geological Magazine, 153 (2016), 388-409.

62.    Yang, B., Steiner, M., Zhu, M., Li, G., Liu, J., Liu, P., Transitional Ediacaran-Cambrian small skeletal fossil assemblages from South China and Kazakhstan: Implications for chronostratigraphy and metazoan evolution. Precambrian Research, 285 (2016), 202-215.

63.    Yin, Z., Zhu, M., Bottjer, D.J., Zhao, F., Tafforeau, P., Meroblastic cleavage identifies some Ediacaran Doushantuo (China) embryo-like fossils as metazoans. Geology, 44 (2016), 735-738.

64.    Zhu, S., Zhu, M.*, Knoll, A.H., Yin, Z., Zhao, F., Sun, S., Qu, Y., Shi, M., Liu, H., Decimetre-scale multicellular eukaryotes from the 1.56-billion-year-old Gaoyuzhuang Formation in North China. Nature Communications, 7 (2016), 11500, doi: 10.1038/ncomms11500.

65.    朱茂炎,全球新元古代沉积地层研究现状。见:孙枢、王铁冠主编:中国东部中新元古界地质学与油气资源,第1章。北京: 科学出版社。(2016), 3-24

66.    朱茂炎,张俊明,杨爱华,李国祥,赵方臣,吕苗,殷宗军, 华南新元古代地层、生-储-盖层发育与沉积环境见:孙枢、王铁冠主编:中国东部中新元古界地质学与油气资源,第5章。北京: 科学出版社。(2016), 107-135