Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter 1, The Iconography of an Explanation

• Discovered within Yoho National Park, the Burgess Shale is known as the largest collection of fossils yet to be found. Its main composition is of invertebrates.

• The Burgess Shale grants us great insight into the history of life forms and evolution. The author of this book, Stephen Jay Gould, desires to illustrate the Burgess Shale's history as a philosophical, scientific and historical lesson for humankind.

• There are two vastly different interpretations of the Burgess Shale due to timing, inexperience and conventional paradigms. Gould discusses these two interpretations and uses them also as examples for philosophical lessons.

• Around 570 million years ago, the Burgess Shale was formed and it presently demonstrates the "Cambrian Explosion" by its containment of diverse life from so many years ago.
• In 1909, Charles Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale. Walcott is known as one of the most famous paleontologists and scientific...

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