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Rockin' discoveries.

There's no doubt about it: Canadian history is on the rocks--and in them! All across the country, archaeologists, paleontologists, and other scientists have discovered important pieces of history among our rocks. These include everything from fine art to five-eyed sea creatures. Read on to find out more!

Ancient Art

Have you ever heard of rock art? It's the term used to describe the images that early Native peoples left behind on boulders and other stone surfaces.

There are two forms of rock art: pictographs and petroglyphs. Pictographs are paintings that have been applied to rocks with fingers or sticks. Petroglyphs are carvings that were scratched into rock surfaces with stone tools.

Pictographs and petroglyphs have been discovered throughout Canada. Usually they show stick-like figures and shapes, including human beings, animals, and various objects. These symbols in the rocks are valuable because they provide us with a link to past Native cultures that had no written language.

Unfortunately, the exact meaning of most rock art is a mystery today. Archaeologists and other experts can only make educated guesses about what certain pictographs or petroglyphs represent.

Take a look at the rock art below. What do you think the images mean?

Fast Fact: The oldest pictographs in Canada are around 300 years old. The oldest petroglyphs are over 5,000 years old.

Fossil Firsts

Rock art is Canada's oldest form of artwork. But there are relics among the rocks that are much, much older than pictographs and petroglyphs. Just head to British Columbia's Yoho National Park to see what we're talking about. There, high up on a mountain ridge, is a small limestone quarry called the Burgess Shale. Believe it or not, this quarry holds the fossil remains of ancient sea creatures that lived over half a billion years ago!

The ancient animals of the Burgess Shale are one of the world's most important fossil discoveries. They are thought to be about 505 million years old--some of the oldest animal fossils ever found.

They are also extremely well preserved. In some cases, even the animals' soft parts (such as the gills and guts) can be seen in the fossils. These fine details give paleontologists a clear idea of what these animals looked like. And some of them looked pretty weird! Check out the illustrations below to see for yourself!

Fast Fact: About 170 different species of marine plants and animals have been found in the Burgess Shale.

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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:mIneRaL maRVeLS
Publication:Kayak - Canada's History Magazine for Kids
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2007
Previous Article:Rearrange the past.
Next Article:What's in the ice?

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