Weird Wonders: Introduction (03:23)
This segment orients viewers to the topic of fossils and the Burgess Shale ancient sea bed.
Yoho National Park (02:14)
In 1909, experts unearthed one of the world's greatest fossil sites; soft-bodied life forms challenged scientific beliefs. Prof. Richard Fortey visits Field.
Charles Doolittle Walcott (01:18)
In 1907, Walcott launched a series of expeditions into the Rocky Mountains. His 1909 discovery on Burgess Shale changed scientific understanding about the origins of complex life.
Burgess Shale (03:17)
Prof. Fortey and Jean-Bernard Caron take a helicopter to the fossil site and admire the original wall at Walcott's Quarry. See some of Walcott's fossil discoveries.
Pembrokeshire Coast (02:17)
In the 19th century, the cliffs yielded some of the oldest fossils ever found in the U.K. Prof. Fortey explores the Cambrian coves for trilobites.
Prof. Fortey explores the Cambrian coves for trilobites. He reveals Britain's largest trilobite. Trilobites were some of Walcott's first finds in the Rocky Mountains.
Royal Ontario Museum (03:08)
Prof. Fortey examines the Burgess Shale fossil collection; the 150,000 specimen collection includes trilobites.
Burgess Shale Trilobite (01:25)
Experts compare a regular Cambrian trilobite fossil to a Burgess Cambrian trilobite fossil.
Shale Fossils (03:00)
The Marrella Splendens is the first fossil Walcott described to science. Prof. Fortey examines a lace crab fossil and Walcott's artistic depiction of his finds.
Prof. Fortey learns why being buried alive was vital to the Burgess Shale fossils' preservation. The random fossil orientation suggests the creatures were engulfed by undersea landslides.
Walcott continued excavating the Burgess Shale until he was 74-years-old; he discovered 65,000 specimens. Prof. Fortey discusses the discovery of three fossils, including Anomalocaris.
Anomalocaris Canadensis (03:19)
In 1966, experts reexamined the Burgess Shale fossils. Prof. Fortey explains their shocking discovery of the Cambrian predator.
Prof. Fortey examines the fossil of a sea creature with five eyes and a proboscis.
Stephen Jay Gould (02:58)
Gould argued that the Burgess Shale fossils required science to reassess the evolutionary theory. An expert explains why the Tulip Animal highlights the challenge of the conventional theory.
Royal Ontario Museum Field Work (02:40)
Dr. Desmond Collins and his team excavated the Burgess Shale site and amassed 150,000 new specimens. Prof. Experts use polarized photography to examine Burgess Shale fossils.
Cambrian Sea Life (03:53)
Prof. Fortey discusses the confirmation of the Cambrian Explosion. He recalls when the Hallucigenia was revealed to the scientific public. Experts discuss its structure and modern relatives.
Burgess Shale Non-Fossil Discoveries (02:04)
Prof. Fortey examines memorabilia from the Walcott Quarry.
Summary and Preview (02:12)
Prof. Fortey snacks on crustacea (lobster and spider crab) and considers our connection with our Cambrian past. Learn about an upcoming fossil episode.
Fossil Record (01:39)
Prof. Fortey considers Walcott's impact on the science of evolution. See a preview of "Feathered Dinosaurs."
Credits: Weird Wonders (00:38)
Credits: Weird Wonders
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