Burgess Shale


September 6 (Tuesday), 6 p.m., Teton Co. Library Auditorium – Open to Public. Presentation: ” The Burgess Shale: The 2014 Marble Canyon Expedition through the eyes of a quarry hand”. Presented by Arvid Aase, NPS, Fossil Butte NM.

One of the  most remarkable stories in our earth’s history is the „Cambrian Explosion” of life, which occurred over ½ billion years ago  –  complex life seemed to spring into existence, as seen in the fossil record.  The Burgess Shale is one of the best records of this early life on the planet. Marble Canyon is one of many new sites discovered in the Burgess Shale (Mt Stephen Formation), by Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum, who explores remote locations for new exposures of the famed fossil beds. The site is located in Canada, in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park.

Two weeks of test excavations at Marble canyon in 2012 produced 57 species of which 17 were new to science (Caron, 2013). The high percent of new species encouraged Dr. Caron to pursue a full-scale excavation in 2014. I was fortunate to be included among the 15-person crew selected to excavate the Marble Canyon site. The scientific description and publication of the new species discovered and their paleoecological setting is underway by Dr. Caron and his students and colleagues, and will be discussed by Arvid.