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Miguasha National Park

City: Campbellton       State: Quebec       Country: Canada
Miguasha National Park (French: Parc national Miguasha) is a protected area near Carleton-sur-Mer on the Gaspé Peninsula of Québec. Created in 1985 by the Government of Québec, Miguasha was designated a World Heritage Site in 1999 in recognition of its wealth of fossils, which display a crucial time during the evolution of life on Earth. Other names for this site are the Miguasha Fossil Site, the Bay of Escuminac Fossil Site, the Upper Devonian Escuminac Formation, and the Hugh-Miller Cliffs. It is also sometimes referred to on fossil specimens as 'Scaumenac Bay' or 'Scaumenac Bay P.Q.' Today the area supports aspen, birch and fir forests, but 370 million years ago the now austere southern coast of the peninsula was a tropical estuary, and a vast array of fish swam in the warm, tidal waters. Some of these were armour plated, some had spines, and others {Eusthenopteron foordi) had lungs and lobe-like fins that enabled them to take a major evolutionary leap. These fish crawled from the water and evolved into tetrapods, the original four legged, air breathing land animals. The fossil beds were discovered in 1842 and thousands of fossils were sent to universities and museums around the world, including the British Museum in London. The coastal cliffs are made of ancient grey rock formed from layers of sandstone and silt. They hold the fossils of ancient species of flora and fauna, including one of the oldest flowering species on earth. However, Miguasha is most famous for its 21 species of fish fossil.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: January to December

Directions | How to Reach

By Road from Carleton 20 km (12.5 mi) or Campbellton, New Brunswick.

miscellaneous | Important Information

The Natural History Museum in the park has an excellent collection of fossils and there is a fascinating cliff-top trail with fabulous views over the Restigouche Estuary, and steps leading to the beach. This is a major piece of the world's heritage and so far over 5,000 fossils have been identified, categorized and catalogued on computer from this single site.

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