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Burgess Shale
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The Burgess Shale was discovered by palaeontologist Charles Walcott on August 30, 1909, towards the end of the season's fieldwork. He returned in 1910 with his sons, daughter, and wife, establishing a quarry on the flanks of Fossil Ridge. The significance of soft-bodied preservation, and the range of organisms he recognised as new to science, led him to return to the quarry almost every year until 1924.
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Siphusauctum gregarium
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A weird tulip-shaped creature discovered fossilised in 500-million-year-old rocks had a feeding system like no other known animal, researchers reported today (Jan. 18).
The animal was a filter feeder, with a tulip-shaped body and a stem that anchored it to the seafloor. Named Siphusauctum gregarium, the creature was about the length of a dinner knife at 20 cm and had a bulbous structure that contained its feeding system and gut.

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Nectocaris pteryx
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The ancestors of modern squid may have existed half a billion years ago - a lot earlier than previously thought.
In a new study, Canadian researchers identified a previously unclassifiable fossil that was long believed to belong perhaps to the shrimp family.
They called it Nectocaris pteryx - a small soft-bodied cephalopod with two tentacles rather than the eight or 10 seen in today's octopi.

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Title: Primitive soft-bodied cephalopods from the Cambrian
Authors: Martin R. Smith and Jean-Bernard Caron

The exquisite preservation of soft-bodied animals in Burgess Shale-type deposits provides important clues into the early evolution of body plans that emerged during the Cambrian explosion. Until now, such deposits have remained silent regarding the early evolution of extant molluscan lineages - in particular the cephalopods. Nautiloids, traditionally considered basal within the cephalopods, are generally depicted as evolving from a creeping Cambrian ancestor whose dorsal shell afforded protection and buoyancy. Although nautiloid-like shells occur from the Late Cambrian onwards, the fossil record provides little constraint on this model, or indeed on the early evolution of cephalopods.

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Ancient Marine Life
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Fossil find resolves ancient extinction mystery

Researchers have revealed remarkably well preserved fossils of soft-bodied marine creatures that are between 470 and 480 million years old.
Prior to this find, scientists were unsure whether such creatures died out in an extinction event during an earlier period known as the Cambrian.
The fossils were preserved in rocks formed by layers of ancient marine mud in south-eastern Morocco.

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Weird wonders lived past the Cambrian

Some of the unusual animals that lived in the sea 500 million years ago thrived tens of millions of years later than previously known, a treasure trove of fossils in Morocco has revealed. The fossils prove that the famously bizarre creatures of the Cambrian (542 million to 488 million years ago) didn't die out at the end of that period - something that fossil hunters had suspected, but could not back up with evidence until now.
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Ordovician Marine Life

Palaeontologists have discovered a rich array of exceptionally preserved fossils of marine animals that lived between 480 million and 472 million years ago, during the early part of a period known as the Ordovician. The specimens are the oldest yet discovered soft-bodied fossils from the Ordovician, a period marked by intense biodiversification. The findings, which appear in the May 13 issue of the journal Nature, greatly expand our understanding of the sea creatures and ecosystems that existed at a crucial point in evolutionary history, when most of the animal life on the planet was found in the oceans.
The team - led by Peter Van Roy, a Yale postdoctoral associate, and Derek Briggs, the Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Geology & Geophysics and director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History - uncovered more than 1,500 fossils of soft-bodied marine animals in newly discovered sites in southeastern Morocco during a field expedition last year. Many are complete fossils, and include sponges, annelid worms, molluscs and horseshoe crabs - in particular, a species similar to todays horseshoe crab, which appeared some 30 million years earlier than previously known.

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Burgess Shale
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More than half a billion years old, the fossils of the Burgess Shale preserves an intriguing glimpse of early life on Earth. They were first discovered in 1909 by Charles D. Walcott, then Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. This group of fossils takes its name from the Burgess Shale rock formation, named by Walcott after nearby Mount Burgess in the Canadian Rockies. The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History currently houses over 65,000 specimens. The museum also has a permanent exhibit of the Burgess Shale fauna near the Dinosaur Hall. Since Walcott's original discovery, fossil deposits like these have been found in such widely dispersed areas as China, Greenland, Siberia, Australia, Europe, and the USA.

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