Monday, December 5, 2011

Royal Ontario Museum Burgess Shale Fossil Gallery.

I first found The Royal Ontario Museum Burgess Shale Fossil Gallery before it was even finished being made, because I'm always using the internet to research fossils. The Royal Ontario Museum had to keep people from going to the website for a while because they were not done with it. But now they are done and it is amazing

I love that this fossil gallery tells you maximum size, supposed diet, abundance, classification, and morphology. It also has pictures of fossils, drawings, and even some videos. You can zoom in on the fossils and drawings to see them up close. At first it seems blurry, but then it clears and you can see amazing details. The Royal Ontario Museum Burgess Shale Fossil Gallery is the best place to find information and pictures of Burgess Shale fossils. The Gallery even features fossils that were discovered last year, in 2010. 

One of the most notably strange animals in the Burgess Shale that is featured in the ROM Fossil Gallery is Herpetogaster collinsi, which is weird. It had a flexible and extendible stalk, with a disc to anchor it to sponges. It had a sea cucumber-shaped body on top of the stalk. The body had thirteen segments, a circular mouth on top, and two branching tentacles on top of the head on either side of the mouth. Its maximum length was 48 mm. One amazing specimen of Herpetogaster collinsi shows many individual specimens attached to a single Vauxia gracilenta sponge. 


Another amazing animal in the ROM Fossil Gallery is Odontogriphus omalus. The fossil shown below preserves Odontogriphus grazing on mats of the cyanobacteria Morania. Odontogriphus omalus was an early slug-like mollusk, related to the more heavily armored Wiwaxia. 


A strange ctenophore that is featured in the ROM Fossil Gallery is Xanioascus canadensis. It looked like a balloon with eggs inside of it. It also had twenty-four comb rows, which are the rows of cilia that propel a ctenophore through the water. Modern ctenophores only have eight comb rows. Fossils of X. canadensis are usually found torn, suggesting that these ctenophores were very fragile and could be easily torn. One of the coolest things about the ROM Fossil Gallery is that they feature some very obscure animals and show a lot of information that most people cannot find anywhere else on the internet. Xanioascus canadensis is one of the very obscure creatures in the ROM Fossil Gallery. 


I recommend that anyone searching for obscure Burgess Shale animals, or even non-obscure Burgess Shale animals, should go to the ROM Fossil Gallery. They have a lot of information, even the meaning of the names, which is something that I love to know. This Gallery has a wide range of Burgess Shale life, even cyanobacteria and algae. In my opinion, it's the best place to find information on Burgess Shale fossils. 

"Materials for this virtual exhibit – called 'The Burgess Shale' – were produced and/or compiled by Parks Canada (for the Parks Canada section) and the Royal Ontario Museum (for all other sections) for the Canadian Heritage Information Network (Virtual Museum of Canada program) for the purposes of providing the public with information about the Burgess Shale."


  1. A year or two ago, I was wandering around in the ROM, and I came across a Burgess Shale display at the end of a dim hallway. It was pretty cool, and featured scale models of the various animals.

    That must have been a temporary location, so I'll have to go back and see what they have now.

  2. It's my dream to visit the actual Burgess Shale someday. It's only a 13 hour drive away!

  3. That's cool. 13 hours is a long drive, but it's not as long as I would have to drive to get there. I think it would be really cool to visit the Royal Ontario Museum. After I see the Field Museum in Chicago, my next trip to a museum will hopefully be to the Royal Ontario Museum.

  4. Well done. Just heard your interview with CBC Daybreak South from Kelowna, BC, Canada. It would appear you're well informed and knowledgeable about your subject matter. I'm sure Mom is learning lots too. Congrats to Mom for allowing him to follow his dream.

    You sound like a very mature, intelligent yet fun young gentleman who's been brought up with manners and a very large vocabulary!

    Best wishes in your future! You'll have to come up to our country and see the many areas we have to explore such as the Burgess Shale among others.

    Enjoy the Christmas season.

    Bev, Cranbrook, BC