Archive by category | Burgess Shale Centenary

Burgess Shale Centenary: Wonderful strife

While most of the conference’s 150 participants are paleontologists, geologists or biologists, a handful are interested hobbyists, at least one of whom has an entire basement museum of fossils he has collected over the years. Keynyn Brysse’s talk was fantastic for the more general audience – including myself.  Read more

Burgess Shale Centenary: Weather permitting

Yesterday it was 30 degrees and sunny, leading to violent thunder storms, torrential rain, and today’s wet drizzle. This demonstration of the changeable weather in Canada’s Rockies gives me a new appreciation for the early explorers of these mountains. In some ways they had it easier than today’s field geologists and paleontologists, in that they had pack horses to carry their gear (several participants at today’s conference have lamented not having their own pack horses). But clearly it was not easy, negotiating up scree slopes of shale, through dense forest, in at times horrendous conditions.  Read more

Burgess Shale Centenary meeting

100 years ago this month, the fantastically-named geologist Charles Doolittle Walcott wandered up into the Canadian Rockies and stumbled on one of the world’s most amazing fossil beds – the Burgess Shale. In those rocks, Walcott and those following him found a stunning collection of preserved soft-bodied animals from 505 million years ago, from worms to jellyfish to things unknown on modern Earth. For decades, it stood as essentially the only showcase of animals from the Cambrian – a time when life exploded into many different (and often odd) lifeforms.  Read more