Burgess Shale fossil quarry

Burgess Shale fossil quarry

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Credit: ALAN SIRULNIKOFF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Burgess Shale fossil quarry. These rocks contain large numbers of fossils from 500 million years ago. They were formed when an avalanche of fine mud buried and preserved a large number of marine animals. The site is remarkable for the excellent preservation of invertebrates. It recorded a key moment in Earth's history, the Cambrian Explosion, when an unprecedented period of evolution produced a wide diversity of body types, including those of today's animals. The site, in Canada's Rocky Mountains, was discovered in 1909 by Charles D. Walcott. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sedimentary rock layers are clearly seen. Photographed at Walcott Quarry.

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