The Discovery of the Burgess Shale by Charles D. Walcott

Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850–1927), geologist and fourth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is best remembered for discovering the main Burgess Shale site between Wapta Mountain and Mount Field, in 1909. This rock formation in Yoho National Park of British Columbia contains many unique fossils, including rare soft-bodied forms; it is one of the most important finds in paleontology, revealing much about marine life on earth during the Cambrian Period, 505 million years ago. For its importance to evolutionary studies, the Burgess Shale was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980, and is now part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage site.

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