[Annelida] Walcott's Burgess Shale centenary
(by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Wed Aug 19 16:15:40 EST 2009
On Saturday 28 August 1909, Charles Doolittle Walcott went up to
Burgess Pass in the Yoho National Park, British Columbia and happened
upon some odd fossils.
This week's Nature has a commentary on what has happened since.
Desmond Collins 2009. Misadventures in the Burgess Shale. Nature 460,
20 August 2009: 952-953.
By the end of Walcott’s final excavation in 1917, he had collected
some 65,000 fossils of exquisite preservation.
Their assignment to higher taxon levels has been famously changeable
and much publicised over the years (per Gould's 'Wonderful Life' &
Conway Morris's 'The crucible of creation"), but according to the
article only one of the 12 fossil taxa he placed as annelids remains
today in Phylum Annelida. Collins doesn't say which, but it might be
Wiwaxia, although its placement is still controversial - see the
Wikipedia article on the genus for more info.
Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>
NIWA is the trading name of the National Institute of Water &
Atmospheric Research Ltd.
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