Burgess Shale Cambrian fossil site discovered 1909


animals_of_the_Cambrian_Period     June, 1909. 

The place – London, Burlington House – the then home of The Royal Society [now at Carlton House Terrace].

The reported ‘Court Circular’ of The Times ….‘Ladies Conversazione…The second of the two conversaziones held by the Royal  Society every year, that to which ladies are invited, took place last night at the Society’s rooms in Burlington House, which were as usual lavishly decorated with flowers and shrubs….’  The Times, Friday, Jun 25, 1909; pg. 14; Issue 38995; col D

The ladies who attended the conversazione would have seen an exhibiton of panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains by Dr Charles D. Walcott, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.   These panoramic views were described as ‘one of the most attractive exhibits’  at the event and ‘well illustrative of the general aspect and the physical physical constitution of the mountain mass’.

Two months later, Walcott was to discover one of the most well preserved groups of marine animal fossils ever found, near the Burgess Pass, in the Yoho National Park, in British Columbia.

The Burgess Shale containes fossils of soft bodied animals such as sponges, sea cucumbers, jellyfish, as well as shrimp-type animals and the area became a UNESCO World Hertiage Site in 1980.

Loughborough University Library hold several books on the Burgess Shale :

The fossils of the Burgess Shale /Derek E.G. Briggs, Douglas H. Erwin, Frederick J. Collier ; photographs by Chip Clark – shelved at 562/BRI

Wonderful life :the Burgess Shale and the nature of history by Stephen J. Gould – shelved at 575/GOU

The University Library also subscribes to the e-journals Lethaia –  [Authentication: Athens username and password required for off campus access],   Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecologyGeology,   Science,   and Nature.  

For more information on the Burgess Shale and its fossils, please see the links below.

Burgess Shale fossils

Yoho-Burgess Shale Foundation

Fauna and Flora of the Burgess Shale

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History





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