The well-preserved remains of more than 100 species of arthropods (invertebrates such as insects, scorpions and millipedes), sponges and other creatures, embedded in the Burgess shale
since the Middle Cambrian 530 million years ago, provided scientists with a distinctly rare glimpse of life near its very beginnings.
The half-billion-year-old Burgess Shale
, a spectacularly rich fossil site in Yoho National Park in BC's Rocky Mountains, provides a rare window into a crucial phase in the history of early life on Earth.
Once an ancient sea bed, the Burgess shale
were formed shortly after life suddenly became more complex and diverse - the so-called "Cambrian explosion" - and are of immense scientific interest.
The Fossil Gallery provides information on almost every species ever described from the Burgess Shale
, including spectacular animations and reconstructions of close to 70 different species.
Some specimens from the Burgess Shale
showed three circles of teeth stacked one atop the other.
To learn more about the ROM's Burgess Shale
research and collection visit rom.
The type of preservation that we know from the Burgess Shale
and thought was relatively limited might be much more widespread than we previously presumed," comments Stefan Bengtson of Uppsala University in Sweden.
Visit the following links to learn more about the ROM's Burgess Shale
collection and research: rom.
Charles Walcott, the scientist who first discovered the Burgess Shale
, assumed that the first Hurdia fragments were part of a crustacean-like animal and that other parts of the same animal were individual jellyfish and sea cucumbers.
The Burgess Shale
animal is a sea pen-like creature (a relative of the sea anemone) that apparently lived on the ocean bottom, using branched fronds to filter food out of the water.
And we will offer the world's most authoritative fossil record of the Big Bang of Life from our collection of the Burgess Shale
Paleontologists have found spectacularly preserved fossils of early Cambrian animals at three sites: the Burgess Shale
in western Canada, Chengjiang in southwestern China and Sirius Passet in northern Greenland.