Name: Burgess Shale
Location: British Columbia
Age: Middle Cambrian (505 Ma)

References and Links

REFERENCES (* marked references are excellent non-technical introductions into the Burgess Shale; nonmarked references are technical reading meant for the most enthusiastic readers)

Allison, P.A. and Briggs, D.E.G. 1993. Burgess Shale biotas ­ Burrowed away. Lethaia 26, 184-185.

Allison, P.A. and Brett, C.E. 1995. In-situ benthos and paleo-oxygenation in the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, British-Columbia, Canada. Geology 23, 1079-1082.

Aronson, R.B. 1992. Decline of the Burgess Shale fauna ­ Ecologic or taphonomic restriction. Lethaia 25, 225-229.

Briggs, D.E.G., Fortey, R.A., and Wills, M.A. 1992. Morphological disparity in the Cambrian. Science 256, 1670-1673.

*Briggs, D.E.G., Erwin, D.H., and Collier, F.J. 1994. The Fossils of the Burgess Shale. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Budd, G.E. and Jensen, S. 2000. A critical reappraisal of the fossil record of the bilaterian phyla. Biological Reviews 75, 253-295.

Conway Morris, S. 1986. The community structure of the Middle Cambrian Phyllopod bed (Burgess Shale). Palaeontology 29, 423-467.

Conway Morris, S. 1989. Burgess Shale faunas and the Cambrian explosion. Science 246, 339-346.

Conway Morris, S. 1992. Burgess Shale-type faunas in the context of the Cambrian explosion ­ A Review. Journal of the Geological Society of London 149, 631-636.

Conway Morris, S. 1993. The fossil record and the early evolution of the Metazoa. Nature 361, 219-225.

*Conway Morris, S. 1998. The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

*Conway Morris, S. 1998. Showdown on the Burgess Shale ­ The Challenge. Natural History 107, 48-55.

*Conway Morris, S. and Whittington, H.B. 1979. Animals of the Burgess Shale. Scientific American 241, 122-133.

Conway Morris, S. and Whittington, H.B. 1985. Fossils of the Burgess Shale. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Reports 43, 1-31.

Dzik, J. 1993. Early metazoan evolution and the meaning of its fossil record. Evolutionary Biology 27, 339-386.

Fletcher, T.P. and Collins, D.H. 1998. The Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale and its relationship to the Stephen Formation in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 35, 413-436.

Foote, M. 1997. The evolution of morphological diversity. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 28, 129-152.

*Foote, M. 1998. Book Review: The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals. Science 280, 2068-2069.

Foote, M. and Gould, S.J. 1992. Cambrian and Recent morphological disparity. Science 258, 1816-1816.

*Fortey, R.A. 1998. Shock Lobsters: Book Review: The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals. London Review of Books 20(19).

Fortey, R.A., Briggs, D.E.G., and Wills, M.A. 1996. The Cambrian evolutionary 'explosion': Decoupling cladogenesis from morphological disparity. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 57, 13-33.

*Gould, S.J. 1989. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. W.W. Norton, New York.

Gould, S.J. 1991. The disparity of the Burgess Shale arthropod fauna and the limits of cladistic analysis ­ why we must strive to quantify morphospace. Paleobiology 17, 411-423.

Gould, S.J. 1993. How to analyze Burgess Shale disparity: A Reply. Paleobiology 17, 522-523.

*Gould, S.J. 1998. Showdown on the Burgess Shale ­ The Reply. Natural History 107, 48-55.

*Levinton, J.S. 1992. The big bang of animal evolution. Scientific American 267, 84-91.

McShea, D.W. 1993. Arguments, tests, and the Burgess Shale ­ A commentary on the debate. Paleobiology 19, 399-402.

McShea, D.W. 1998. Possible largest-scale trends in organismal evolution: Eight "live hypotheses". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 29, 293-318.

Orr, P.J., Briggs, D.E.G., and Kearns, S.L. 1998. Cambrian Burgess Shale animals replicated in clay minerals. Science 281, 1173-1175.

Petrovich, R. 2001. Mechanisms of fossilization of the soft-bodied and lightly armored faunas of the Burgess Shale and of some other classical localities. American Journal of Science 301, 683-726.

Ridley, M. 1993. Analysis of the Burgess Shale. Paleobiology 19, 522-523.

Thomas, R.D.K., Shearman, R.M., and Stewart, C.W. 2000. Evolutionary exploitation of design options by the first animals with hard skeletons. Science 288, 1239-1242.

Waggoner, B.M. 1996. Phylogenetic hypotheses of the relationships of arthropods to Precambrian and Cambrian problematic fossil taxa. Systematic Biology 45, 190-222.

*Whittington, H.B. 1985. The Burgess Shale. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Wills, M.A., Briggs, D.E.G., and Fortey, R.A. 1994. Disparity as an evolutionary index ­ a comparison of Cambrian and Recent arthropods. Paleobiology 20, 93-130.


Lane, A. 1999. Palaeofiles: The Cambrian Explosion. Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Bristol, UK. (Though somewhat out of date, this is the best site on the Cambrian explosion I have ever seen on the Internet. Highly recommended. Congratulations to Abigail Lane for a truly outstanding and scholarly website).


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Geological Setting and Age
Flora and Fauna
References and Links

Section author: Alexei A. Rivera

This section is part of a Fossil Lagerstätten web site which has been built up as a result of the efforts of the 2002-3 MSc Palaeobiology class in the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Bristol, as part of a course in Scientific Communication.

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