Burgess Shale’s Weird Wonders

The fossils found in the Burgess Shale include the 500-million-year-old ancestors of most modern animals

(Painting by D.W. Miller. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)


Hallucigenia sparsa
(Maura McCarthy)
Hallucigenia sparsa was originally described by Walcott as a polychaete annelid. Today, Hallucigenia is identified as an armored lobopod — related to today's land-based velvet worms. Hallucigenia gained fame as Stephen Jay Gould’s classic “weird wonder” in his 1989 book, Wonderful Life.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus