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The new fossils reveal the internal organs of several different arthropods, the most common type of animal in both the new and old Burgess Shale locations.Retinas, corneas, neural tissue, guts and even a possible heart and liver were found.
More than 200 animal species have been identified at the 1909 fossil site, providing a rare window into the Cambrian explosion, the time when complex body forms first appeared in Earth's fossil record starting about 542 million years ago.
"Nowhere do we have a better view of exactly what the Cambrian looked like and its relationship to the environment than in the Burgess Shale," Gaines told Live Science's Our Amazing Planet.
The new site is also in the Burgess Shale formation, and seems to rival the 1909 original in fossil diversity and preservation, researchers report today (Feb. In just two weeks, the research team collected more than 3,000 fossils representing 55 species. [Gallery: Amazing Cambrian Fossils from Canada's Marble Canyon] "The rate at which we are finding animals — many of which are new — is astonishing, and there is a high possibility that we'll eventually find more species here than at the original Yoho National Park site, and potentially more than from anywhere else in the world," said Jean-Bernard Caron, lead study author and an invertebrate paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
A treasure trove of fossils chiseled out of a canyon in Canada's Kootenay National Park rivals the famous Burgess Shale, the best record of early life on Earth, scientists say.
"Once we started to break fresh rock, we realized we had discovered something incredibly special," said Robert Gaines, a geologist at Pomona College in Pomona, Calif., and co-author of a new study announcing the find.
"It was an extraordinary moment." The Burgess Shale refers to both a fossil find and a 505-million-year-old rock formation made of mud and clay.The renowned Burgess Shale fossil quarry, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Yoho National Park, is in a glacier-carved cliff in the Canadian Rockies. Since then, several other fossil sites have been found in the Burgess Shale, but none as rich as the original.Better than Burgess The new fossils were spotted in a mountain cliff, in Marble Canyon, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) southeast of the original Burgess Shale site.Researchers hope to protect the exact location to prevent looting.(Visitors to the Burgess Shale quarry must hike with a park guide and leave their backpacks behind when they approach the fossils.) The newly discovered rocks are probably about 100,000 years younger than those at the first Burgess Shale site, based on comparisons to similar fossils found elsewhere, Gaines said.Many of the fossils at the new site are better preserved than their quarry counterparts, the researchers report.