Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada photo.

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada photo.

Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

World travel is almost impossible in 2020, but time travel is still allowed.

Close to the Alberta border in the BC Rocky Mountains lies the Burgess Shale, a spot where scientists and tourists regularly travel 500 million years back in time.

Life was a little different then: all the earth’s animals lived in the ocean, and most of them were smaller than your hand. But life was exploding, with new complex organisms developing at a rapid rate. And the Burgess Shale is a near-perfect snapshot of that time.

The trails to reach the fossils are steep, and often unstable. Hiking poles are required on the Mount Stephen hike, and recommended on all trails. Zoya Lynch/Parks Canada photo.

The trails to reach the fossils are steep, and often unstable. Hiking poles are required on the Mount Stephen hike, and recommended on all trails. Zoya Lynch/Parks Canada photo.

The fossils are surrounded by spectacular scenery high in the Rockies, and hiking the steep trails is no easy feat. Luckily, the Virtual Museum is just a click away. Learn about this incredible site where some of the world’s oldest and most complex fossils are preserved, and scientists continue to make new discoveries. Not only do the Burgess Shale fossils represent a unique moment in history, they’re also very well preserved. You’ll see both hard body parts and soft tissues, and get a better sense of life in the Cambrian period.

Did we mention the Burgess Shale is a UNESCO World Heritage site? It’s no wonder that both David Suzuki and Sir David Attenborough have made special visits!

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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Please note that current Provincial Health Protocols currently advise against travelling outside your region to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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