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.