Burgess Shale


Burgess Shale
Fossil formation containing remarkably detailed traces of soft-bodied marine organisms of the middle of the Cambrian Epoch (520–512 million years ago).

Collected from a fossil bed in the Burgess Pass of the Canadian Rockies, the Burgess Shale is one of the best preserved and most important fossil formations in the world. Since it was discovered in 1909, over 60,000 specimens have been retrieved from the bed.

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▪ geological formation, British Columbia, Canada
      fossil formation containing remarkably detailed traces of soft-bodied biota of the Middle Cambrian Epoch (520 to 512 million years ago). Collected from a fossil bed in the Burgess Pass of the Canadian Rockies, the Burgess Shale is one of the best preserved and most important fossil formations in the world. Since it was discovered in 1909, over 60,000 specimens have been retrieved from the bed.

      The Burgess Shale captures a complex marine environment containing a rich diversity of arthropods, miscellaneous worms, sponges, lophophorates, echinoderms, mollusks, priapulids, chordates, hemichordates, annelids, and coelenterates. The fossil bed is likely the result of mud slides from the Laurentian shelf that rapidly buried the fauna, preserving great morphological detail. While many of the fossils clearly belong to established phyla and reveal important information about phylogenetic development, there are many other genera that do not fit so easily into modern phyla. Such unusual fossils as Hallucigenia, a creature with a long tubular body and two rows of tall dorsal spines; Wiwaxia, an oval creature with two rows of spines down its plated back; and Opabinia, which had five eyes and a long nozzle, have led many scientists to conclude that the Cambrian Period may have produced many unique phyla. However, deposits discovered in China, Greenland, and elsewhere have demonstrated that at least some of the shale's oddities (including Hallucigenia and Wiwaxia) belong to known groups of animals—though they were members of lineages that diverged early from the others and soon became extinct—and that the Burgess Shale is unique in preservation, but probably not in composition.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Burgess Shale — es una localidad y célebre yacimiento de fósiles, ubicado en el Parque Nacional Yoho de la provincia de Columbia Británica, en el Canadá. El Burgess Shale es conocido por su riqueza en vestigios de animales invertebrados del período Cámbrico… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Burgess Shale — Infobox Rockunit name = Burgess Shale caption = Marella , the most abundant Burgess Shale organism. type = Geological formation prilithology = Shale otherlithology = namedfor = Burgess Pass namedby = Charles Doolittle Walcott region = Yoho… …   Wikipedia

  • Burgess Shale — Dieser Artikel wurde wegen inhaltlicher Mängel auf der Qualitätssicherungsseite des Portals Geowissenschaften eingetragen. Dies geschieht, um die Qualität der Artikel im Themengebiet Geowissenschaften zu steigern. Bitte hilf mit, die Mängel zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Burgess shale — Dieser Artikel wurde wegen inhaltlicher Mängel auf der Qualitätssicherungsseite des Portals Geowissenschaften eingetragen. Dies geschieht, um die Qualität der Artikel im Themengebiet Geowissenschaften zu steigern. Bitte hilf mit, die Mängel zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Burgess Shale — noun A rock formation in the Canadian Rockies that contains very many fossils from the Cambrian period …   Wiktionary

  • Burgess Shale — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Burgess shale type preservation — The Burgess shale of British Columbia is famous for its exceptional preservation of mid Cambrian organisms. Around 40 other sites have been discovered of a similar age, with soft tissues preserved in a similar, though not identical, fashion.These …   Wikipedia

  • Burgess shale type fauna — A number of assemblages bear fossil assemblages similar in character to that of the Burgess shale. While many are also preserved in a similar fashion to the Burgess shale, the term Burgess shale type fauna covers assemblages based on taxonomic… …   Wikipedia

  • Burgess (places) — Burgess is a name used to identify many places in various countries. Places can be towns, cities or geological features.Places and geological featuresCanada* Mount Burgess, a Canadian mountainUnited Kingdom* Burgess Park, park in the London… …   Wikipedia

  • Shale — (also called mudstone) is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clay minerals or muds. It is characterized by thin laminae [cite encyclopedia title = shale encyclopedia = Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology… …   Wikipedia


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