The Burgess Shale


CONWAY MORRIS, S. 1998. The Crucible of Creation. The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals. Oxford University Press, 242 pages.

This book presents an overview of the history of research on the Burgess Shale, the Cambrian explosion, and the significance of the Burgess Shale biota. It is Simon Conway Morris’s response to Stephen Jay Gould’s landmark book Wonderful Life.

BRIGGS, D.E.G., D.H. ERWIN, AND F.J. COLLIER. 1994. The Fossils of the Burgess Shale. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 238 pages. [now out of print]

A concise book on the geology and fossils of the Burgess Shale with excellent black and white illustrations of species of animals and algae. It is a good summary of what we knew about the Burgess Shale until 1994.

GOULD, S. J. 1989. Wonderful Life. The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. Norton, New York, 347 pages.

Perhaps the best-known book about the Burgess Shale written by a non-Burgess Shale specialist. The particular ideas presented have been vividly criticized and are now somewhat out of date. This book is still a bestseller and a must read!

WHITTINGTON, H.B. 1985. The Burgess Shale. Yale University Press, New Haven, 151 pages. [now out of print]

This book represents an excellent review of the Burgess Shale fossils and the history of research until 1985.