The Burgess Shale

Mount Stephen
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Fossil Ridge
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Life Habits
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Feeding Strategies
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Overall Abundance
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Main Gallery

The Main Gallery is a comprehensive source of information based on the latest scientific research covering the majority of species so far described from the Burgess Shale. It contains a growing collection of over 500 high resolution images representing 184 species in 135 genera. In addition, dozens of scientifically accurate drawings and breathtaking digital animations will allow you to visualize these organisms in three dimensions and see how they lived.

The Main Gallery is currently sorted alphabetically on the genus names of 135 organisms. By clicking on these names you will be directed to specific pages providing various media, including high resolution images, reconstructions and digital animations (when available), as well as information ranging from biological affinity and a history of research, to a brief species description and a list of references.

When a genus is represented by more than one species, selected images of the various species are usually provided for comparison on the same page. The descriptive text, however, refers to the type species within that genus and only brief mention is given to each of the other known species, if applicable.

Photos: All images of specimens can be enlarged by clicking on the images or by using the small navigation tools at the bottom of the images. Several images of the same specimens taken using different illumination techniques (for example of both the part and counterpart of the same specimen), are often presented side by side to show different details (link to photography). Information about the repository of the specimens, basic descriptions including dimensions and locality information, and photographic conditions are included in the captions after the species name. Most of the known primary types (including holotypes) have been photographed for each species. Repository and number of specimens (in brackets) presented in this gallery are as follows: Royal Ontario Museum (292), Smithsonian Institution (184), Geological Survey of Canada (18), University of Michigan (9), and Harvard University (2).

Drawings: Simple line drawings (basic scientific reconstructions or sketches) of specimens which can also be enlarged in the same way as photos.

2D Models: Detailed scientific reconstructions which can also be enlarged in the same way as drawings and photos.

3D Models: Digital animations (videos) with the static organism rotating through 360 degrees around the organisms. The organisms themselves appear “frozen” to allow observation of fine anatomical details.

3D Animations: Digital animations (videos) of individual organisms or group of similar organisms (e.g. brachiopods and sponges) as they would have appeared in their environment.