Near The Burgess Shale


41 Responses to “Near The Burgess Shale”

  1. bugmaker says:

    I love da Burgess shale an da trilobites!!!

  2. Takuan says:

    wow! steam powered robot trilobite!

  3. noen says:

    That top photo clearly shows the tracks of the elusive Snow Snake entering the river in the foreground. A large specimen by the looks of it. I’d be careful if I were you. He could be hunting you.

    It’s a common misperception that Snow Snakes hibernate for the winter. They don’t. They feed on lost tourists and snowboarders.

  4. Kenworth says:

    I live in Calgary and used to drive truck through there all the time…… must go in the summer…its breathtaking.

  5. Silencer7 says:

    I found out about the Burgess Shale back in 1999 from my older sister.
    We were still watching MTV in those days, and she was disappointed to learn she had misheard the lyrics to “Scar Tissue” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers–that the line was not, in fact, “With the Burgess Shale it’s a lonely view…”
    She grumbled, “Rats. I thought the Chili Peppers had suddenly gotten a whole lot cooler.”

  6. Mindpowered says:

    To grasp just how weird the Cambrian was..

    You have to back into the Ediacaran

  7. evilrooster says:

    In the spirit of this:

    Allow me to humbly submit for your esteemed consideration:

  8. Darren Garrison says:

    Other than Wonderful Life, if you are interested in the fossils of the Burgess shale, you really need a copy of– well– The Fossils of The Burgess Shale

    and The Crucible of Creation:

    (Both of which look to be OOP and going up in price– check for better prices).

  9. Dale Dougherty says:

    Thanks, Hal, for such a nice comment.

  10. Hal Ucigenia says:

    Dale and Teresa: you’re welcome.

    Mindpowered: yes, the Ediacaran is quite amazing too; it’s not as well-preserved (and thus, well-known) as the Burgess Shale fauna, but this is both a strength and a weakness – the nature and function of so many of the specimens may be hard to grasp, but the mystery is what makes them to compelling! I had trouble not talking too much about the Ediacaran in my interpretive programs this summer, for fear they would end up too long.

    By the way, what is this ‘boom de yada’ thing all about?

  11. Takuan says:

    We’re glad you asked that question

  12. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Busted. Happy about it.

  13. bugmaker says:

    thanks for checking out my triloblog, takuan

  14. Takuan says:

    seriously, way cool steam engine driven trilobite. Can it reproduce?

  15. cintune says:

    Always loved that Lovecraft reference he slipped in there. Those sure were some weird little critters. For all practical purposes, Earth was the archetypal alien world back then. Squishy, slimey, mutating strangeness everywhere.

  16. Brad Templeton says:

    I stayed in Field last trip. The classic photo there is the spiral tunnel in Kicking Horse Pass, where if you get a long train you can see the train crossing over itself. If you’re on the train you can look down to see yourself crossing over a different part of your own train. is a shot of that.

    Panoramas of Banff can be found at:

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Hal, Dale, Bugmaker:

    The true and original Boom de yada:

    I have a stash of LJ icons I haven’t used yet, one of which is a Hallucigenian from the Burgess Shale. I have a weblog where “Naalbinding trilobites” would be a plausible entry in a “fake Making Light entry” competition. (I just linked to it, btw.) And if her server weren’t down right now, I could show you the song written by Abi Sutherland, my co-blogger at ML, that describes the nine orders of trilobites to the tune of “We Three Kings.”

    Boom de yada: the world is just awesome.

  18. bugmaker says:

    tak, ask crabfu

    thanks, teresa.

  19. jphilby says:

    It’s kind of amusing to run into Walcott today.

    Earlier today I was reading about someone grousing about what a shame it was to appoint know-nothings to important federal science-administration posts.

    I just found this description of Walcott’s Smithsonian tenure: “His great discovery, made in 1909, was largely misinterpreted by him, and it was many years before others recognized the exceptional role in evolution represented by the creatures he had collected from the Burgess Shale deposits…. Despite his lack of formal education he became his country’s leading scientific administrator.”

    We learn from history that we don’t learn from history.

  20. Stefan Jones says:

    My test video servers at work are named:


    I set up a waptia but it has hardware troubles and was never put into service. So far I haven’t had a need for a hallucinagenia.

    I have blown-up pictures of the Wonderful Life sketches hanging in my cube, along with the IP addresses, so I can point to them if anyone wonders what the hell those words are.

  21. Hal Ucigenia says:

    Thank you for this! As someone who worked at the Burgess Shale as one of the aforementioned ‘licensed guides’ this summer it really pleases me to see people expressing an interest. If there’s one thing I think can really instill in an honest sense of awe over how amazing Earth is, it’s not only what the Earth is, but what it’s capable of. And the Burgess Shale fauna is a perfect example not of what is, but what COULD BE.

    Those who haven’t read Gould’s work, I urge you to.

    Thanks again Dale!

  22. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Oh yeah, forgot: JFlex, you were only spared because you didn’t post a URL with your message. Please don’t do ads here.

  23. Takuan says:

    boom de yada!

  24. Ian Holmes says:

    I linked to some Wikipedia images of Burgess fauna here:

  25. Mindpowered says:

    Ok. Into this Cambrian Lagerstatten Love fest

    “Meanwhile, the International Subcommission of Cambrian Stratigraphy (ISCS) at the ICS has been, ever so slowly, working away at the insurmountable problem of imposing an “official” stratigraphy on ground which is both literally and figuratively shifting. On one side, they face increasing pressure and high-volume whining from ill-mannered people, including ourselves, who need a stable, well-characterized outline for the Cambrian. On the other side lies the abyssal certainty that, whatever they decide, it will be obsolete within a few years and everyone will laugh at them. So, like Frankenstein (who was sort of a committee himself) the ISCS has slowly retreated before an angry mob of geological peasants armed with with torches and pitchforks, shuffling up the narrow mountain defile towards an inevitable doom.”

    and here.

  26. Lord Xenu says:

    God, those photos make Alberta look cold. Wake me up when it’s Spring!

  27. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Thank you, Dale; and Hal, too. The Burgess Shale has been important in my life.

    Boom de yada!

  28. Hal Ucigenia says:

    Ha, I have a set of those toys from work. They’re awesome… my little Opabinia can hold coins in his nozzle.

    Teresa: that song sounds awesome! Be sure to post about it if it ever comes back online.

  29. AGF says:

    @11 Lord Xenu – That’s funny. Living here – I can tell you by the clouds it’s really warm for the time of year (probably above 0 Celsius) The cold is actually kinda fun. You get to dress up really warm, go for a walk(or bike ride) – and feel like you accomplished something by being comfortable despite it being -40!

  30. AGF says:

    oh by here I mean Alberta.

  31. Neuron says:

    you really need a copy of– well– The Fossils of The Burgess Shale…

    My public library has a copy. I’ve checked it out about a half dozen times.

  32. Hal Ucigenia says:

    Haw, love it!

    Saved, saved, saved.

  33. Darren Garrison says:

    Any way to get those toys on-line?

  34. imipak says:

    “Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs / Upon the slimy sea…”

  35. JFlex says:

    Hey Dale,

    T’would be neat if you were using SeeMyWhere ( You install it on your phone and then it updates your location on a map. You could have a BB post that people come back to and chart your progress.

    - This message was sponsored by!

  36. arkizzle says:

    Darren, from the comments @ BugMaker’s link:

    “You can still get these? I tried to order them online and no one ever got back to me.”

    “You have to contact them directly, and it’s a bit of a hassle. I never got around to doing it that way, though I tried twice. I’m glad my girlfriend was in T.O. for a conference, or I’d prob’ly still be hankerin’ for ‘em.”

    “One wishes it was was easy to order them online. Their “Contact Us” link doesn’t seem to work…phooey.”

    ..doesn’t sound like it :(

  37. Darren Garrison says:

    “It’s kind of amusing to run into Walcott today.”

    Yeah, I always laugh when I bump into dusty corpses.

  38. mrsomuch says:

    I love you guys. geeks all.

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