ROM Governors

The Dawn of a New Gallery Experience

In one of the most exciting ROM Centennial legacy projects and a key priority of the Love the ROM Centennial Campaign, the Dawn of Life on Earth Gallery will explore how life began on Earth and how it evolved over time. Canada is home to some of the world’s most important fossils for revealing life’s deep history. Visitors will hear fascinating stories and learn about remarkable research on the earliest beginnings of life, mass extinctions, and how these inform our current planetary crisis.

“The Dawn of Life on Earth Gallery will be an interactive space and engrossing experience, using cutting-edge technology to tell the story of how life began on Earth,” says Jean-Bernard Caron, ROM curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology. “Through innovative design and hands-on activities, we will create a gallery experience unlike any other at the ROM.”

Showcasing the ROM’s world-leading research and discoveries in brand new ways, the gallery will celebrate our shared past and help inform our understanding of the future. In-gallery technology and digital tools will connect visitors to the latest ROM research and current palaeontology projects in the field. Visitors will be able to watch, learn, and ask questions of the ROM’s world-class team as they unearth spectacular specimens from active research sites across Canada.

The Dawn of Life on Earth Gallery will explore these discoveries and tell the story of early life on Earth as only the ROM can. To learn how you can support this innovative gallery project, please contact Ulrica Jobe at 416.586.5818 or

• In 2012, the ROM’s Jean-Bernard Caron made global headlines when he co-authored an article in Biological Reviews, confirming that Pikaia gracilens—a primitive fish-like animal from the Burgess Shale—is our earliest known ancestor.

• Earlier this year, Jean-Bernard and colleagues published a groundbreaking article in Nature on the discovery of a new fossil bed in the heart of the Rockies, where they unearthed more than 50 new species in just two weeks.

• In June, Jean-Bernard again published in Nature, detailing how a fish-like vertebrate called Metaspriggina offers an understanding of how our jaws evolved.

• On August 5, 2014, the ROM’s Dave Rudkin and Carole Burrow of Queensland Museum, Australia, published a paper in the journal PLOS ONE about a 425-million-year-old spiny shark fossil, the oldest known near-complete fossil of an early jawed fish.