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Museum: Natural History Museum
Location: 1st Floor, East Wing, Entrance to Dinosaurs Hall
Soft-bodied and hard-shelled animals, tall sponges, and algae offer a rare glimpse into the earliest explosion of animal life more than 500 million years ago. This plethora of weird wonders was reconstructed based on fossils preserved in the rocks of the Burgess Shale. In 1909, Charles Wolcott, fourth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, discovered the Burgess Shale fossil deposit in British Columbia, Canada. The museum houses more than 65,000 Burgess Shale fossils, many of which are still intensively studied by scientists around the world. Dozens are on display.