Burgess Shale, near Field, British Columbia, Canada
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Queens Blessing
N 51° 26.426 W 116° 32.523
11U E 531828 N 5698904
Quick Description: The Burgess Shale was added to the World Heritage list in 1980. The site is located inside the Yoho National Park, part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Park.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 8/20/2011 2:10:04 PM
Waymark Code: WMCC2J
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tervas
Views: 2

Long Description:
The text on the plaque reads:

"World Heritage Site
Burgess Shale was placed on the World Heritage list at the 1980 meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a site of outstanding universal value forming part of the National Heritage of Mankind.

Dating from Middle Cambrian time, more than 500 million years ago, it is one of the world's most significant fossil sites. It has yielded more than 150 species of some 120 genra. The remarkably preserved soft-bodied marine animals, unique to Burgess Shale, are of major importance to evolutionary biology."

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Another interpretive sign at this site reads:

"Burgess Shale
1909 - Discovery!
While in Yoho conducting field work, Charles Walcott, renowned geologist and head of the Smithsonian Institution, found some unusual fossils in rock debris along the Burgess Highline Trail.

1910-1917 - Smithsonian Collection. The following summer, Walcott found the main source of the fossils in a rock layer high above the trail. He spent five field seaons quarrying, and collected 65,000 specimens.

Walcott's find yielded a startling variety of exquisitely preserved soft-bodied marine animals. The Burgess Shale remains the world's most important Cambrian-aged fossil site, and continues to play a pivotal role in our understanding of the emergence of early animal life.

1930- Harvard Collection
A four man party from Harvard University, led by Percy Raymond, spent two weeks at the site, working Walcott's quarry and opening a second quarry metres above.

1966-67 - The Burgess Shale Revisited.

After sitting dormant for many years, the Burgess Shale quarries were reopened by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). Their work suggested the fossils were buried in front of an ancient underwater cliff- the Cathedral Escarpment. further study, spearheaded by Harry Whittington of Cambridge Universicy, revealed that many Burgess Shale animals did not fit neatly into existing animal groups, as Walcott had thought. Some appeared to be biological oddballs belonging to extinct groups, suggesting a radical new view of animal evolution.

1981-81 - New Sites Discovered. In 1975, Desmond Collins, of the Royal Ontario Museum, (ROM) found unexpectedly large numbers of rare fossils in loose rock at the site. Inspired, he later returned and, following the Cathedral Escarpment, found a dozen new Burgess Shale-type fossil sites. Although not as rich as Walcott's find, fossils from these and other new sites around the world have shown that some Burgess Shale oddballs are, in fact, related to modern animals. What other secrets are waiting to be discovered?"
Type: Site

Reference number: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/304

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ornith visited Burgess Shale, near Field, British Columbia, Canada 9/2/2013 ornith visited it
Queens Blessing visited Burgess Shale, near Field, British Columbia, Canada 8/22/2011 Queens Blessing visited it
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