The great breakthrough that established fossils as the chroniclers of GEOLOGICAL HISTORY was made independently, early in the 19th century, by William Smith in England and Georges Cuvier and Alexandre Brongniart in France. They discovered that a distinct succession of fossils exists in stratified layers of SEDIMENTARY ROCKS. They also noted that while deposits of the same age carry the same kinds of fossils, rocks of different ages carry different fossils. Study of the succession of fossils in rock layers (biostratigraphy) provides a basis for establishing a history of the Earth. By 1842, the broad divisions of geological time had been defined for Europe and for North America, and much detail had been worked out on local sequences of rock formations and their fossil contents.
Author L.S. RUSSELL
Links to Other Sites
About the discovery of Daspletosaurus torosus fossils in Alberta. From the Canadian Museum of Nature.
Lake Temiscamingue Fossil Centre
This web site highlights the themes and reserch sites of the Lake Timiskaming Fossil Center located in Notre-Dame-du-Nord, Quebec.
Royal Ontario Museum
The official website for the Royal Ontario Museum features illustrated guides to many of the museum’s collections and exhibits.
Dig This! The Cretaceous Period
Dig into the Palaeo Pursuit game and other activities about fascinating fossils, dinosaurs, and other Cretaceous creatures. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
What's so bad about badlands?
About the geoscape of southern Saskatchewan, badlands, and dinosaurs. From Natural Resources Canada.
Life of a Rock Star
This site tells the story of an extraordinary group of scientists who tramped, paddled and rolled across Canada in the nineteenth century to study the geology of Canada's varied terrain.
Canadian Association of Palynologists
Find out what a “palynologist” does. Also, check out the “plain language” article summaries from “Palaeontologia Electronica.”
Alberta Geological Survey
The website for the Alberta Geological Survey offers an extensive collection of maps, reports, newsletters, and other publications about the geology of this prairie province.
Deep Time And Ancient Life In The Columbia Basin
Fascinating accounts of early discoveries of the Burgess Shale fossils and other fossil beds in the Columbia basin region of BC. Authoritative information, excellent images and maps. A PDF file from the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Geological Time Scale
This site offers clearly marked geological time scale charts. The time scale is depicted in its traditional form with oldest at the bottom and youngest at the top -- the present day is at the zero mark. From the University of Calgary.
Glossary: Fossils of Nova Scotia
A glossary of terms about fossils and related geological processes. From the website for the Nova Scotia Museum.
Glossary: Natural History
Click on the links to access bilingual glossaries about natural history. From the Canadian Museum of Nature.
A brief profile of Carl Linnaeus and the binomial naming system he devised for living organisms. From the website for the Linnean Society of London in the UK.
The Burgess Shale Anomalocaridid Hurdia
A brief report about the Burgess Shale Anomalocaridid Hurdia and its significance for early euarthropod evolution. From sciencemag.org.
A description of the term "museomics," which refers to the sequencing DNA harvested from museum specimens. From the New York Times website.
Wilderness and Ecological Reserves
Click on "Find a Reserve" for information about each of the wilderness and ecological reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Near-forgotten Canadian scientist discovered new era in life on Earth
A news story about the scientific impact of pioneering fossil research by Elkanah Billings, Canada's first government paleontologist. From thevancouversun.com.
Scientists find fossil bonanza in southern B.C.
A news story about the discovery of a 500 million year old fossil bed near the Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park. The vancouversun.com.