Fossil Sites of British Columbia

December 10, 2014

BurgessShaleWolcottQuarriesB Oct 2014jpg

Photographer: Thomas McGuire; Thomas' Web site
Summary Author: Thomas McGuire

In 1909 Charles Wolcott discovered a fossil site high in the Canadian Rockies, in layers of the Burgess Shale. Through five summers he excavated a quarry from which he recovered over 65,000 Cambrian age fossils including impressions of soft body parts. The black arrow shows the location of two Burgess Shale quarries high above Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

Cambridge paleontologist Harry Whittington observed that many of the fossil animals were very different than any other fossil animals known before. Some animals were so unusual that different parts of the same animal were, at first, classified as several different animals.

These fossils became famous when Harvard professor Stephen J. Gould wrote his 1989 best-selling book, Wonderful Life. This year a second and possibly more productive fossil site was announced in Kootenay National Park about 25 mi (40 km) south of the Wolcott quarries. Photo taken on September 25, 2014.

Photo details: Camera Model: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS; Focal Length: 5.1mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800); ISO equiv: 160.