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BURGESS SHALE. Kelly Lekan November 19, 2007 GEO 401. British Columbia, Canada Yoho National Park. LOCATION. Cambrian period ~505 million years ago Once located on the Western edge of Laurentia Was near the equator - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of BURGESS SHALE

  • BURGESS SHALEKelly LekanNovember 19, 2007GEO 401

  • LOCATIONBritish Columbia, CanadaYoho National Park

  • GEOLOGYCambrian period~505 million years agoOnce located on the Western edge of LaurentiaWas near the equatorEnvironment was a warm, shallow marine environment where light could easily penetrate the area.

  • GEOLOGYFound within the Stephen FormationLocated between Mount Wapta and Mount Field.Two major quarriesWalcott quarry (Named for founder of the Burgess Shale Charles P. Walcott)Contains the Phyllopod BedMost famous fossil collecting siteRaymond quarry


  • PRESERVATIONDeposited in a deep-water basin adjacent to an algae reefTurbidity flows and mudslides transported and buried the organismsAnoxic environmentRapid burialKilled instantlyNot in life position

  • PALEONTOLOGYThe best record we have of Cambrian animalsMost diverse and well-preserved fossil localitiesSoft body preservation

  • PALEONTOLOGY60,000 unique fossils have been collected140 species119 generaWeird wonders

  • PALEONTOLOGYDominated by arthropodsSponges, worm-like phyla, brachiopods, echinoderms, chordates, and mollusks13 different genera of trilobitesDiversity of lifeBenthic (lived in the substrates in the bottom of the ocean)Active and passive suspension feeders, deposit feeders, scavengers, active predatorsFree swimmers and bottom dwellersBottom dwellers moved by either burrowing or crawlingMicrofossilsBacteria, protists, cyanobacteria, and dinoflagellatesMacroscopic algae

  • PALEONTOLOGYWell preserved exoskeletons, limbs, and infillings of the gutSoft tissue and musclesPhyllopod BedDark StainsRadioactive carbon

  • EVOLUTIONBest record of Cambrian animalsCambrian explosion545-525 million years agoAppearance of many new organismsSoft bodied organismsTaphonomic WindowHistorical snapshot in the diversity of ancient life

  • SIGNIFICANCEBest record of Cambrian animalsBest record of soft body preservationEvidence of Cambrian explosionEvolution from pre-Cambrian life formsDiversity of lifeModes of life/adaptationBody plans

  • REFERENCES AND IMAGESHPVM: Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum. Burgess Shale: Hidden Treasure in the Canadian Rockies. http://park.org/Canada/Museum/burgessshale/tablen.htmlMacRae, Andrew. Burgess Shale Fossils. http://www.geo.ucalgary.ca/~macrae/Burgess_Shale/Rivera, Alexei A. Fossil Lagerstatten: Burgess Shale. Department of Earth Sciences. University of Bristol. http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/palaeofiles/lagerstatten/Burgess/biota.html.Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History. The Burgess Shale: Strange Creatures A Burgess Shale Fossil Sampler. http://paleobiology.si.edu/burgess/index.htmlTrilobites. Trilobites of the Burgess Shale, Canada. http://www.trilobites.info/Burgess.htmUCMP Berkeley. Localities of the Cambrian: The Burgess Shale. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/burgess.html.