Burgess shale

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Burgess shale

500 million year-old fossil-bearing strata discovered in the Canadian Rockies by the American palaeontologist Charles Walcott. The fossils are extremely well preserved and many have no relationships with present day organisms. Collectively, the fossils show an explosion of early life in which the variety of body forms exceeds that of the whole of the present day animal kingdom. Most are now extinct but others have close relationships with organisms which gave rise to present day forms.
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Since the ROM hosts the largest collection of Burgess Shale fossils in the world, and its curators have conducted fieldwork there beginning in 1975, the story of the Burgess Shale will take centre stage in the Early Life gallery.
Traditionally, one of the most contentious aspects for scientists studying Burgess Shale fossils has been trying to understand their affinities with modern-day animals.
Gallery of Earth and Early Life n Opening 2009/2010 The record of life and the story of species extinction will be told through exceptional fossil specimens and artifacts from the Earth's distant past, including the ROM's internationally respected collection of Burgess Shale fossils.