Key Earth Science Links
Cambrian Period—Explosion of Life, Burgess Shale, Chordates
Cambrian Explosion. Fossilmuseum.net. Short review with links of the relatively sudden appearance of diverse fossil life at the beginning of the Cambrian Period (and Paleozoic Era).
The Shape of Life—The Cambrian Explosion. Brief explanation of the relatively sudden diversification of animal life at the beginning of the Cambrian Period (and Paleozoic Era) from the PBS series with short video clips and links.
The Burgess Shale Site, Yoho-Burgess Shale Foundation. History of Walcott quarries, discussion of the importance of the Burgess Shale, photo gallery, information on trails, a museum, and more.
Cambrian Period—Diversification of chordates and arthropods
Introduction to the Chordata. University of California, Berkeley. Explains features common to all chordates, with summaries of the fossil record, life, history and ecology of chordates, and systematics of chordates.
Introduction to the Cephalochordata. University of California, Berkeley. Explains features of the eel-like cephalochordates (lancelets) that have been useful for understanding early vertebrate evolution.
Introduction to the Arthropods. University of California, Berkeley. Explains features common to all arthropods, with summaries of the fossil record, life, history and ecology of arthropods, and systematics of arthropods.
The Arthropod Story. Tree of Life Project. On-line storybook format contains information about what arthropods are, Cambrian arthropods, the importance of exoskeletons, and limitations on arthropods.
A Guide to the Orders of Trilobites. Sam Gon III. An excellent site for learning about trilobites, one of the first classes of arthropods to diversify in the Paleozoic. Includes information about classification, ecology, and evolution, with abundant images and illustrations.
Trilobite eye. Sam Gone III. Trilobites developed some of the first eyes to see the world around them. This site explains how scientists can interpret how and what trilobites could see from their fossils
Trilobite Page. Peripatus. Good overview of trilobites; their morphogy, classification, origins, evolution, and extinction.
Cambrian Period—Oldest Vertebrates from Chengjiang, Conodonts
Waking up to the Dawn of Vertebrates, Science News. News article on the discovery of the oldest vertebrate fish fossils from Chengjiang province, China. Good summary of the discovery in 1999 of Myllokunmingia, a fossil jawless fish, related to the modern hagfish, and considered the oldest evidence of vertebrates.
Oldest Fossil Fish Caught, BBC News. News report on the discovery of the oldest fossil fish (jawless) fossils (Lower Cambrian) from Chengjiang, China. These are currently the oldest chordate fossils on Earth. The fossils are types of jawless fish, similar in appearance to Pikaia, from the Burgess Shale.
Vertebrates, Tree of Life Web Project. Technical discussion of phylogenetic relationships of vertebrates. Description of the conodont animal and vertebrate origins can be found at Euconodonta.