The Burgess Shale

Overview and Highlights

The Burgess shale is famous for its stunning soft-bodied fossils (mostly animals and algae) which offer a spectacular picture of marine life that populated our planet 500 million years ago. These fossils are of critical importance in understanding the origin of modern life on Earth. (For more information, visit the Science Section).

Using the latest web technology and high-resolution images you will be able to browse through hundreds of images of fossil specimens in the Main Gallery, to filter particular types of information. Additionally, because the fossils are usually flattened within the rock layers, the latest in digital animation techniques brings many species to life. Discover some highlights here:

Anomalocaris - The largest predator of the Cambrian

Click on/tap the image below to zoom in and view more detail

Anomalocaris canadensis (ROM 51211) Complete specimen showing the pair of eyes, claws, lobes and the posterior fan. Specimen length = 222 mm. Specimen wet – direct light. Raymond Quarry. © ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM. PHOTO: JEAN-BERNARD CARON

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3D animation of Anomalocaris canadensis.
ANIMATION BY PHLESCH BUBBLE © ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

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3D model of Anomalocaris canadensis
ANIMATION BY PHLESCH BUBBLE © ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM