Literary Resources

These are some excellent resources on the biodiversity of Cambrian fauna and the Burgess Shale in particular.

Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould is available online and in bookstores for $21.00. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Gould describes the Burgess Shale and what it tells us about evolution. This book introduced the public to the Cambrian Explosion, and is appropriate for a lay audience.

Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey. Available online and at the Yoho Visitors’ Centre for $32.50.
This book focusses on trilobites, some of the most abundant and diverse marine fossils. The author describes his own fascination with trilobites, the diversity of the animals, and the geologic history that trilobites witnessed. Appropriate for a lay audience.

The Fossils of the Burgess Shale by Derek Briggs, Douglas Erwin, and Frederick Collier takes a bit of effort to find, and as an academic text is a pricier proposition than books written primarily for a lay audience at $86.93 used and $172.95 new. After a general description of the Cambrian radiation and the circumstances of the preservation of the Burgess Shale, the book lists all of the fossils found in the Burgess Shale with detailed diagrams and descriptions of the ecology and taxonomy of the organisms. Readers can also try academic libraries for a copy of this book.

The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang, China: The Flowering of Early Animal Life by Hou et al. describes a deposit of soft-bodied organisms slightly younger than the Burgess Shale. This is the first book in English to provide a detailed overview of the site. The softcover edition is available online for $41.57.

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