Burgess Shale anniversary

by Anonymous on Aug. 19th, 2009

Burgess Shale quarry c. 1913: Charles D. Walcott (L) often worked the quarry with family members. Here he's seen with his wife, Helen (far right) and their son, Sidney.
Burgess Shale quarry c. 1913: Charles D. Walcott (L) often worked the quarry with family members. Here he's seen with his wife, Helen (far right) and their son, Sidney.Courtesy Public domain
A century ago today Smithsonian Institute paleontologist Charles D. Walcott literally stumbled upon one of the greatest fossil sites in the world: the Burgess Shale. Located in the Canadian Rockies near the town of Field, British Columbia, the Burgess quarries have produced many thousands of well-preserved fossils of creatures that rose up during the Cambrian Explosion over 550 million years ago. The fossils include rare soft-body impressions of some of the strangest marine invertebrates that ever lived on Earth, such as the bizarre and aptly-named Hallucigenia and the five-eyed Opabinia. Burgess Shale fossil: Opabinia with its unusual five eyes.
Burgess Shale fossil: Opabinia with its unusual five eyes.Courtesy Public domain
A book by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould entitled Wonderful Life dealt with these unusual fossils, but if you'd like to read more about it now check the links above or go here.

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