High up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains there are mysteries more than half a billion years old. These are the outcrops of the Burgess Shale Biota — more than 150 species that provide a window into life in our Cambrian seas.
Charles Doolittle Walcott will be forever remembered for his extraordinary discovery of the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of Yoho National Park in southeastern British Columbia — delivering to the world one of the most important biota of soft-bodied organisms in the fossil record. Here we find a fairly complete look at an ancient ecosystem with algae, grazers and filter feeders, scavengers and active predators. Remarkably, soft-bodied organisms make up 98% of individuals and 85% of the genera. These animals lived and died in the deep waters at the base of what would later become known as the Cathedral Escarpment.
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