a bed of Cambrian sedimentary rock in the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia containing many unique invertebrate fossils
A rock formation in the western Canadian Rockies that contains numerous fossilized invertebrates from the early Cambrian Period.
Our Living Language : Animals in the period known as the Cambrian Explosion sported bizarre combinations of legs, spines, segments, and heads found in no present-day animals. Many of these animals became extinct, leaving no descendants, whereas others may have evolved into groups that are familiar to us today. Most of our knowledge about these early life forms comes from the Burgess Shale, a 540-million-year-old formation of black shale discovered in 1909 by Charles Walcott in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. The unique process of fossilization that occurred in the Burgess Shale allowed exquisite preservation of these early animals. While in most cases a reaction to oxygen causes the soft parts of animals to rot away prior to fossilization, the Burgess Shale animals were killed instantly by a mudslide deep in the ocean, where there is a lack of oxygen. After burying the animals, the mud hardened into shale, preserving the soft animal parts. At the time of his discovery, Walcott was able to classify the fossils as ancestors of modern animals. The Burgess Shale was reexamined in the mid-1960s, and many new, unknown fossils were found. When Harry Whittington, Derek Briggs, and Simon Conway Morris studied these new fossils in the 1970s and 1980s, they realized that many of them did not fit into the modern classification system. The implication that there were more basic animal forms in the Cambrian Period than there are today shook up traditional ideas about evolution. In 1989 Stephen Jay Gould brought the Burgess Shale to wide public attention with the publication of his book Wonderful Life.
Burgess Shale [(bur-jis)]
American History. a representative in the popular branch of the colonial legislature of Virginia or Maryland. (formerly) a representative of a borough in the British Parliament. Rare. an inhabitant of an English borough. Anthony, 1917–93, English novelist and critic. (Frank) Gelett [juh-let] /dʒəˈlɛt/ (Show IPA), 1866–1951, U.S. illustrator and humorist. Thornton Waldo, 1874–1965, U.S. author, […]
(in Scotland) an incorporated town having its own charter and some degree of political independence from the surrounding area. Archaic. borough. Historical Examples Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 2 Various Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson The Mandarin’s Fan Fergus Hume The Political History of England – Vol XI George Brodrick The Mandarin’s Fan Fergus […]
(in Scotland) an incorporated town having its own charter and some degree of political independence from the surrounding area. Archaic. borough. Historical Examples Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 4 Various Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland Domesday Book […]
an inhabitant of a town, especially a member of the middle class; citizen. Historical Examples The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest Charlotte M. Yonge The Peace Negotiations J. D. Kestell My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War Ben Viljoen. The Crown of Wild Olive John Ruskin Women of Medival France Pierce Butler The Black Tulip Alexandre […]