What, When and Why Wiwaxia? - The Creatures of the Cambrian


The fantastically well preserved fossils at the 510 million year old Burgess Shale site in Canada were discovered in 1909 by Charles Doolittle Walcott. These amazing fossils are from the period soon after multi-cellular animals (metazoans) evolved from the single celled organisms that had existed for most of the previous two billion or more years.

The fossils from the Burgess Shale and a few other rare sites around the world with particularly good fossilisation (called Lagerstätte) give us a glimpse of animal life soon after they appeared in the seas of our planet.

These web pages explore the Burgess Shale, the animals they contain and discuss what the fossils represent and how they relate to the animals we see around us today.

The sections of this web site are as follows:

A special thank you goes to Meg for permission to use her beautiful drawings: