Burgess Shale Centenary

It has been called ‘one of the 20th Century’s most significant discoveries’: an amazing array of fossilised creatures from 500 million years ago that includes the ancestors of virtually all modern animals. One hundred years ago, on the 30th August 1909, palaeontologist Charles D. Walcott travelled along a horse trail near Burgess Pass in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Walcott, then secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, had been alerted to the possibility of a major fossil trove by railway workers driving a track through the mountains, who had come across what they called ‘stone bugs’.

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