Carbonate-rich sedimentary rocks of the western Anabar region, northern Siberia, preserve an exceptional record of evolutionary and biogeochemical events near the Proterozoic/Cambrian boundary. Sedimentologically, the boundary succession can be divided into three sequences representing successive episodes of late transgressive to early highstand deposition; four parasequences are recognized in the sequence corresponding lithostratigraphically to the Manykai Formation. Small shelly fossils are abundant and include many taxa that also occur in standard sections of southeastern Siberia. Despite this coincidence of faunal elements, biostratigraphic correlations between the two regions have been controversial because numerous species that first appear at or immediately above the basal Tommotian boundary in southeastern sections have first appearances scattered through more than thirty metres of section in the western Anabar. Carbon- and Sr-isotopic data on petrographically and geochemically screened samples collected at one- to two-metre intervals in a section along the Kotuikan River, favour correlation of the Staraya Reckha Formation and most of the overlying Manykai Formation with sub-Tommotian carbonates in southeastern Siberia. In contrast, isotopic data suggest that the uppermost Manykai Formation and the basal 26 m of the unconformably overlying Medvezhya Formation may have no equivalent in the southeast; they appear to provide a sedimentary and palaeontological record of an evolutionarily significant time interval represented in southeastern Siberia only by the sub-Tommotian unconformity. Correlations with radiometrically dated horizons in the Olenek and Kharaulakh regions of northern Siberia suggest that this interval lasted approximately three to six million years, during which essentially all 'basal Tommotian' small shelly fossils evolved.