Sample Paper on Burgess Shale – Paleozoic Life I

The Burgess Shale remnants have been termed as the world’s most important fossil discovery, largely due to their great age, diversity and the inconceivable element of their perpetuation. Burgess Shale is unique from other fossil locations because a sequence of geological features resulted in these soft-bodied creatures. These animals which are mostly arthropods have the hard components of their bodies which include bones, shells, teeth preserved. Incredibly, muscles, gills, digestive systems and other soft body elements of these animals are also preserved and thereby providing scientists with a unique opportunity to examine not only these details but also the manner in which the animals lived and evolved.

The fossils disclose significant hints to the nature of evolution since all of the main kinds of creatures or phyla identified at present are represented in the Burgess Shale. Additionally other animals that cannot be placed in the current classification system are also represented. Cambrian remains are identified from numerous sites, but typically only from shells remains but in Burgess the whole creatures were preserved including eyes, tissue observable. Soft tissue fossils had not been obtainable in any significant quantities until the unearthing of the Burgess Shale. Some of the creatures discovered appear to be new since they have no existing descendants. They represent complete lineages left behind by evolution, most probably in one of the mass extinctions that disrupt the natural history of this world. These fossils presented a clear picture of the diversity of the early Paleozoic and presented paleontologists with a better feel for the intricacy of the Cambrian blast. The fossils also point out that even the environment was very dissimilar from what is known at present times in relation to forests, lakes and prairies.