In The Field

Burgess Shale Centenary: Rats, goats, and jack hammers

Yet more history from Desmond Collins, who talked today about the work that has gone on in the Burgess Shale since the 1970s or so. Collins himself was in charge of many further explorations of the shale, and even has a quarry named after him (as does the original discoverer Charles Doolittle Walcott, and a handful of others, but only a handful). Collins is clearly on a first name basis with both all the people who have explored the shale, and also all the creatures who have turned up in the rocks. He showed a fabulous slideshow of weird and wonderful creatures preserved in the shale, most of which you can see in the Royal Ontario Museum’s online photo collection. Surprisingly (to me), many of the creatures revealed have still not been properly described – including the one called the ‘Collins monster’. 

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