14 Anomalocaris was part of the Cambrian Explosion

Something strange, unusual, and wonderful happened about 540 million years ago: It was an expression of life unlike anything which has occurred before or after, an explosion of sorts, “Nature’s Big Bang”. Suddenly there were creatures of marvelous diversity where before there had been nothing. The fossil record, from that period, teems with life while rocks below it are mostly barren. Nearly every phylum which exists today was suddenly present, including many that have not survived. What caused this amazing fluorescence of life and why? These are prominent questions on the minds of paleontologist today as they grapple with the mysteries of life’s origins.

Scientists call it the “Cambrian Explosion”. Here at Great Basin Museum we have a representative collection of fossil life from that exciting time. Our best rocks from that period are the Wheeler Shale, one of only a few formations where soft-bodied organisms are occasionally found. The Wheeler Formation is abundant in our area. For over 100 years it has been collected and studied for the secrets it has to reveal. Come and visit us and take a look at creatures that actually took part in “The Cambrian Explosion”, the formative period for life on Earth.