Live Blogging from the Burgess Shale Virtual Museum of Canada Launch!

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 08:53 , by admin

Join us Thursday, December 1 from 11 am to noon EST as we live blog from the ROM during the launch event for the Burgess Shale Virtual Museum of Canada. This online exhibition is the most current and comprehensive resource for knowledge on one of the world’s most important fossil sites.

Through the use of never-before-seen visuals, including stunning virtual animations, the Burgess Shale Virtual Museum of Canada website provides for the first time ever an immersive journey into the world of the bizarre, prehistoric creatures that formed the foundation for all animal life on Earth half a billion years ago.

Experience this sleek and innovative online exhibition with interpretations by Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, ROM Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology, Alex Kolesch from Parks Canada and Jacques Lavoie, ROM Educator.

Visit the exhibition at

December 1 12:07. pm

We are finishing the event. Thanks for tuning in! post any more questions here or tweet with hashtag #VMC_BurgessShale.


December 1 12:04. pm

We are showing another clip of a website virtual animation video on the website. We can see the animal swimming and interacting with 500 million year old plant life.


December 1 12:01. pm

Jean-Bernard Caron replies that it shows that we’re all deeply connected to the Burgess Shale and to each other. The Burgess Shale is a gift Canada shares with the world for this reason.


December 1 11:59. am

What is the single most important message to learn from this website?


December 1 11:57. am

Answer: Yes, connections are made between some animals represented on the website and their most similar modern day counterparts.


December 1 11:55. am

A blog comment question in regards whether there are comparisons on the site between the Burgess Shale creatures and similar ones in today’s oceans. Answer to come…


December 1 11:53. am

The answer, “We used the absolute latest research in terms of how the animals look and how they move. The colours of the creatures are an estimate. The videos are very elaborate. Seven minutes of video took two years to produce.


December 1 11:50. am

Next question, “How accurate are the virtual recreations of the creatures?”


December 1 11:50. am

Alex Kolesh says that it’s also in an avalanche path! it needs to be installed, serviced and removed by helicopter from time to time. There is a video on the site displaying a helicopter trip up to service the camera.


December 1 11:48. am

Now taking audience questions. A student asks what happens to the camera in the winter when it’s covered in snow?


December 1 11:47. am

The fossil cam shows a real-time view at the park.


December 1 11:45. am

Another cool feature: A 360 degree view of the Park!


December 1 11:44. am

Visitors can also take a virtual hike up the mountains all the way to the main quarry!


December 1 11:43. am

Alex Kolesh from Parks Canada takes the podium. He is providing an overview of the resources in regards to visiting the Burgess Shale. The “visit” section gives information on guided hikes in Yoho National Park.


December 1 11:38. am

Students can also see beautiful images of the Burgess Shale locality, along with information on the fascinating history of how the Burgess Shale was discovered in 1909.


December 1 11:36. am

Students can learn about how the animals were preserved for so many years. The website describes step by step the process of fossilization.


December 1 11:35. am

He is providing an example of a particular Burgess Shale species. There are many videos and images describing the information. Viewers can also view a map of where the species was found. There is also a review section with questions and activities testing what students have learned.


December 1 11:32. am

Jacques Lavoie is providing an overview of the resources for teachers, educators and students on the website. The website is broken down into the science and history portions of the Burgess Shale story.


December 1 11:29. am

The website includes a section with lesson plans for teachers. ROM teacher Jacques Lavoie will come up and give an overview of this section.


December 1 11:28. am

The ROM has been involved in collecting Burgess Shale specimens since 1975. Our last tripmwas in 2010. We’ve made many discoveries but there is still much to learn.


December 1 11:26. am

A section called “Planning an Expedition” gives information on what is involved in planning a research trip to study and collect specimens.


December 1 11:25. am

The website contains nearly 200 species with up-to-date research, images and models for many species.


December 1 11:23. am

He is providing an overview of the site. the virtual exhibition is entirely bilingual. He is playing a video clip of a virtual submarine dive down into the bizarre world of the Burgess Shale creatures. It is incredible anything that looks this strange ever existed here in Canada!


December 1 11:21. am

ROM Paleontologist Jean-Bernard Caron is speaking. He says that life on Earth changed dramatically during the Cambrian Explosion over 500 million years ago. The Burgess Shale is a window into that time.


December 1 11:17. am

Yoho National Park, protects the Burgess Shale, arguably the world’s most important fossil site, has been brought to life in a new way with this website.


December 1 11:15. am

Alan Latourelle, CEO Parks Canada, has taken the podium. He says that this is Parks Canada’s 100-year anniversary. Parks Canada protects some of Canada’s most important treasures.


December 1 11:13. am

We are proud to collaborate with Parks Canada to make possible what will now be the most comprehensive online resource on the Burgess Shale.


December 1 11:11. am

She says that we can now share this website with the world. The scope, depth and technology of this website is unmatched.


December 1 11:10. am

Janet Carding, ROM CEO, is welcoming guests. She says, “As human we have the opportunity to understand what life was like 500 million years ago”


December 1 11:08. am

People around the room are all on laptops checking out the website. Someone’s just referred to Burgess Shale creatures as the real Pokemon of science!


December 1 11:04. am

Hello everyone,

Thanks for joining us for this this morning. The launch event will be getting underway in just a few moments.