The House of the Distant View of the Dragon King Temple, on an island in the lake of the Summer Palace of Beijing, must have been a terrific place to plan a scientific programme. Here, in 1984, Chinese and British geologists met to plan details of collaboration of a project, under the auspices of the Royal Society and Academia Sinica. The idea had been proposed by Charles Holland: to take a single, narrow interval of the Early Palaeozoic (the Telychian) and compare the successions and fossils of that age in Britain and China as an exercise in precise stratigraphic correlation,...

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