Burgess Shale


Also found in: Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Burgess Shale: Cambrian Explosion

Burgess Shale

A rock formation in the western Canadian Rockies containing a wealth of fossilized invertebrates of the early Cambrian Period that were buried by an underwater avalanche of fine silt, preserving many details of their soft parts and providing valuable information about the evolution of early life.

[After nearby Mount Burgess.]

Burgess Shale

n
1. (Placename) a bed of Cambrian sedimentary rock in the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia containing many unique invertebrate fossils
2. (Geological Science) a bed of Cambrian sedimentary rock in the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia containing many unique invertebrate fossils
[named after the Burgess Pass, where the bed is exposed]

Bur·gess Shale

(bûr′jĭs)
A rock formation in the western Canadian Rockies that contains numerous fossilized invertebrates from the early Cambrian Period.
Did You Know? Early animals on the Earth included many oddities. These animals had bizarre combinations of legs, spines, segments, and heads found in no animals since, as if Nature were trying out different models to see what might work best. Many of these animals became extinct and left no descendants. Others may have evolved into groups that are well known today. We know a lot about these bizarre life forms thanks to the Burgess Shale, a 540-million-year-old formation of black shale in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Unlike most rocks in which fossils are preserved, the Burgess Shale preserved the soft parts of organisms that normally would have rotted away (by reacting with oxygen) before the animals became fossils. This happened because the animals were killed instantly by a mudslide deep in the ocean, where there is very little oxygen. After the mud buried the animals, it hardened into shale. Thanks to this, we know a lot about the period of early animal evolution known as the Cambrian Explosion.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Scientists had previously found well-preserved fossils from this period in only a handful of sites worldwide, most notably the Burgess Shale in southern Canada.
Based on specimens from the ROM's Burgess Shale collection, Nectocaris has now been identified as one of the oldest and most primitive cephalopods, a class of molluscs that includes modern squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish.
Interest in the Cambrian has surged in recent years, in part because of remarkable fossil discoveries made in southwest China and northern Greenland, which coincided with a reevaluation of fossils found early this century at Canada's Burgess Shale (SN: 7/11/92, p.
Collaborative research by an international team has solved a century-old mystery in the ROM's Burgess Shale collection.
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.
As it turned out, the Burgess Shale, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, held a rich deposit of fossils--odd, primitive life forms dating to 505 million years ago.
The two researchers have used the new fossil as a stepping stone to categorize some of the most puzzling Cambrian fossils found in Canada's Burgess Shale formation and other sites around the world.
Walcott's discovery of the Burgess Shale, a famous fossil deposit now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
High in Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, in an extra-ordinary 540-million-year-old fossil deposit called the Burgess shale, a mid-Cambrian marine community comes to life.
Canada's Burgess Shale is famous for its exceptional preservation of some of the oldest animals on Earth.