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The Burgess Shale: The Virtual Museum of Canada

Take an online dive into a 500-million-year-old sea

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Go on an immersive journey into the world of the bizarre prehistoric creatures which formed the foundation for all animal life on Earth half a billion years ago.  

Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Burgess Shale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of an ancient fossilized marine seabed.  

Through the use of never-before-seen visuals, including stunning virtual animations, this award-winning website brings to life over 100 years of discoveries. It features an authoritative fossil gallery, including high-resolution images of the creatures, and life-like models or digital reconstructions for many species. There are also sections on history, research and practical information for visitors to the Burgess Shale. 

The ROM's cutting-edge research is leading the way in understanding more about this incredible natural treasure and the stories it tells about early life on this planet. We’ve led dozens of field explorations and excavations to the area since 1975, and we hold the world's largest collection of Burgess Shale specimens, over 150,000 in total.

The Burgess Shale: The Virtual Museum of Canada is the recipient of a Paleontological Association Golden Trilobite Award (2011) and an Ontario Museum Association Award for Excellence in Publications (2012).

Member of the Virtual Museum of Canada

Member of the Virtual Museum of Canada


The Burgess Shale online exhibition was created by the ROM and Parks Canada, with funding from the Virtual Museum of Canada Investment Programs, an initiative of the Canadian Heritage Information Network. The Burgess Shale online exhibition is part of the Virtual Museum of Canada.


Jean-Bernard Caron

Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology

Online Event: 


Authored by: Noman Siddiqui


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