In the media

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Geological Map App for your mobile - Rockd


Rockd is an interactive tool that provides you with geological maps, formation names and descriptions on your cell phone. You can use the location function on your cell phone to pinpoint where you are on the geological map.

Paleomaps - great tool for explaining plate tectonics

If you are an educator and you are looking for tools to show students what the earth looked like at various times in the past, then check out Dr. Scotese's Paleomap Project and Dr Blakey's Deep Time Maps.

Ovatiovermis a very rare species

In 2011, Emily Taylor, a hiker on one of our tours discovered a rare fossil of an organism now described as Ovatiovermis. There are only two known specimens of Oviatiovermis making it one of the rarest of the Burgess Shale species. Click here to read the Calgary Herald's article about the find. Click here to read the academic paper describing Ovatiovermis

Hallucigenia re-described with a grinning mouth

Martin Smith and Jean Bernard Caron's re-description of Hallucigenia was published in the journal Nature on June 25. A great deal has been learned about the arrangement of the mouth an eyes of this creature thanks to imaging with a variety of lighting techniques and by the use of electron microscopy. View a video on Jean Bernard Caron's blog


See related articles, BBC, Science Daily and U of Toronto News

Listen to a 6 minute interview with Dr. Smith from the June 25 CBC As It Happens current events radio program.
Hallucigenia a favourite Burgess Shale creature. The story of its placement within the evolutionary "tree" is filled with humour and lively debate.

For more information on Hallucigenia, see the ROM virtual museum

The mystery of where Hallucigenia fits on the tree of life has been solved; the clue was in the claws.

Martin Smith and Javier Orteg-Hernandez present an argument that Hallucigenia belongs in the taxon Tactopoda due to the strong resemblance between Hallucigenia's claws and Velvet worms' jaws. Read more about these unique claws in the Science Daily news.

Yawunik kootenayi

In March 2015 PhD candidate Cédric Aria and his supervisor Jean-Bernard Caron published a description of a new leancholiid arthropod named Yawunik kootenayi. The species was discovered in 2012 at the Marble Canyon Fossil site in Kootenay National Park.
Read more about the characteristics of this creature and how it was named.

Where are the Marble Canyon specimens?

Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron takes viewers behind the scenes to see the new Marble Canyon fossil specimens as they are unpacked, prepared and stored at the Royal Ontario Museum. He also shows examples of fossils that will be displayed in the Dawn of Life Gallery. Click here to view the video, uploaded courtesy of The Globe and Mail. Click here to see the photos from the globe and mail  Here's a link to Ivan Semeniuk's Saturday Feb. 14, 2015 Globe & Mail story about the new discovery.


Here's a 2015 reading recommendation. Four Billion Years and Counting: Canada's Geological Heritage describes the geological history of Canada and how the geology of Canada impacts the way we live. Take a close look at any one of our modern conveniences and there's a connection to geology: the metals and quartz mineral in a wristwatch, the plastics in appliances and the fossil fuels in the gas tanks of our vehicles. Geological processes are behind natural hazards such as earthquakes and landslides.

The book was published by the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences in association with Nimbus Publishing.
The book can be ordered on-line directly from the publisher in English and in French and can be orderd from major retailers.

Aug. 21, 2014 Update on ROM's discovery of soft-bodied Burgess Shale-type fossils in Kootenay National Park

The CBC visited the new fossil site on August 21. View the video.

Wonderfully preserved specimens of Metaspriggina from the Marble Canyon site have allowed Conway Morris and Caron to redescribe this very early fish and to interpret clues about the early evolution of fish. Listen to an interview with Simon Conway Morris from the June 14, 2014 episode of CBC Quirks & Quarks.

Jean-Bernard Caron explains the significance of this creature in his blog.

On June 11, 2014 Nature magazine published a research letter by Cambridge University paleontologist Dr. Simon Conway Morris and Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum. Here's a link to the abstract.

In February 2014 Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum and collaborators reported a very exciting discovery of a new site containing well preserved fossils of soft-bodied creatures from the Middle Cambrian. Read the abstract in Nature Communications.

See photos of these wonderfully preserved animals on the Globe & Mail site.

Here's a link to the Feb.11, 2014 Globe & Mail article about the discovery.

A new interpretation of the Rocky Mountain Trench

The Xuewei Bao provides a compelling reason for why the 1600km (1000 mile) trench feature that separates the Rockies from the rest of the mountains of the Western Canadian Cordillera exists. Click here to read the abstract and see the figures from his 2014 paper published in Nature Geoscience. 


Royal Ontario Museum On-Line Exhibition

The award winning Burgess Shale on-line exhibition was launched by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Parks Canada as part of the Virtual Museum of Canada. The website provides animations, an extensive fossil gallery, links to information about current research, and information created for teachers. There's a great breadth and depth of information about the organisms and the environment in which they thrived, half a billion years ago.

Ecological Relationship between a brachiopod and Wiwaxia

Good evidence of animal ecological relationships from the middle Cambrian is rare. It is tough to know for certain the ecological interactions of prey-predator, parasitism, commensalism and mutualism amongst animals that lived 508 million years ago. The following abstract presents evidence for a commensalism relationship between two middle Cambrain organisms. "Brachiopods hitching a ride: an early case of commensalism in the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale", Evidence of an interdependent lifestyle shared by two species

A Suspension-feeding anomalocarid

Anomalocarids were the biggest, meanest looking organisms of the Cambrian. Most of us would naturally assume that they were the apex predators of their time. While this is likely the case for Anomalocaris Canadensis (a species found on fossil ridge near the Walcott Quarry) it may not hold true for some of the other anomalocarids that have been found at other Cambrian fossil locations. The authors of the following paper from the journal of Nature present evidence for an anomalocarid with a different mode of life. A suspension-feeding anomalocarid from the Early Cambrian.

Mercury's role in the Earth's greatest extinction event

Read the Science Daily News article discussing mercury's role in damaging the ecosystem during the Permian extinction.

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