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Exploring the Fossils of Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve

5 May 2010 by Peter Bull in Hiking & Walking , Nature and History
Region: Avalon

By Peter Bull, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Recently, my Dad and I took a two hour drive south from St. Johns to Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve. Named because it was a navigational hazard mistaken for Cape Race, it is one of the world's most significant fossil sites. Here you can find the oldest complex life forms anywhere on Earth. The main fossil layer preserves the ecology of a 565-million-year-old deep sea community.

The global importance of Mistaken Point has not gone unnoticed. It has been added to the Canadian tentative list of potential UNESCO World Heritage properties. Mistaken Point hopes to join Gros Morne National Park, on the west coast of Newfoundland, with this designation because of its geological importance.

Dad and I went with Richard, the reserve's manager, to tour the fossils and were more than impressed with what we saw and learned, despite the weather. Access to the fossils is by guided tour only from late May to early October. To find out about seeing these incredible fossils yourself, call the Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South (709) 438-1100 and ask to speak to one of the Reserve's Interpreters.