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Most fossils were found in underwater banks known as the phyllopod beds.
The Burgess fauna contains many fossils of soft bodied animals as well as those with hard parts.
Walcott called the Burgess Shale the "fossil-bearing unit", but it received little attention until fifty years later.
Finally in 1960, Alberot Simonella brought a renewed interest to Walcott's work when he began to redefine members of the Burgess Shale fauna.
The Burgess Shale has contributed significantly to the fossil record because of the large number of well preserved fossils found within its layers.