Canada's Kootenay National Park Yields Massive Fossil Site that Got Scientists Excited (Video)

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 12, 2014 3:39 PM EST

The world of science is abuzz after a team of researchers uncovered a massive fossil site in a mountain park in British Columbia which they claimed is the "motherload" of all fossil sites.

Publishing their findings in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the researchers from Canada, the United States and Sweden said the discovery was made during the summer of 2012 in Canada's Kootenay National Park.

Since then, the researchers have been able to identify 50 individual species, including about 12 that had never been seen before. Some of those species, researchers said, could also be found in China's famous Chengjiang fossil beds, which are 10 million years older.

The site dates back 505 million years to the Cambrian period, according to the researchers. Not only that, it is way bigger than the Burgess Shale just 50km (~31 miles) away.

The Burgess Shale refers to both a fossil find and a 505-million-year-old rock formation made of mud and clay.

A UNESCO World Heritage site located in Yoho National Park, the fossil quarry is located in a glacier-carved cliff in the Canadian Rockies. The fossils were discovered in 1909.

"This new discovery is an epic sequel to a research story that began at the turn of the previous century, and there is no doubt in my mind that this new material will significantly increase our understanding of early animal evolution," Dr Jean-Bernard Caron, lead author from the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto, said in a statement. "The rate at which we are finding animals - many of which are new - is astonishing."

Cédric Aria, a PhD student in U of T's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, believe there's still more to uncover.

"What awaits us there, only the mountain knows, but chances are high that the discoveries will fuel a lot more research," he said.

"The full potential of these new fossil beds has yet to be revealed."

Video Source: YouTube/ Royal Ontario Museum

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