Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Eastern Newfoundland of Newfoundland and Labrador. The fossils here are some of the oldest known remnants of multicellular life on Earth. It is an important site for palaeontology in Canada.
Mistaken Point contains the richest and best preserved Precambrian fossils known in the world. The site was discovered in 1967 by Shiva Balak Misra, then a student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, as part of his master's thesis when he found the Fractofusus misrai. The results were published in the journal Nature in 1968 and the fossil was named after him in 2007.
The site was recognized in the 1980's as an important site with possibly the oldest multicellular animal fossils in North America and the oldest deep-water fossils in the world. Subsequently, in 1987, a 5 km strip of coastline was declared a nature reserve because, according to a study, this area is the oldest biota with the one of the oldest known Ediacaran fossils, in fact the site with the oldest complex-structured organisms in the world.
In 2004, this area was nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List and was added to this list on July 17, 2016.
The terrane on which Mistaken Point lies was named after the terrane Avalonia found in western Europe . It was formed in the early Cambrian when Pannotia broke away from Gondwana – (now South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Australia ). The opening of the North Atlantic from south to north in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods meant that parts of the former small continent of Avalonia are now in northern Central Europe and eastern North America (Newfoundland, New England states).
Flora and faunaEdit
The reserve is 2.5 km along the gravel road to Cape Race from Portugal Cove South which is in Trepassey and the Irish Loop. See the Trepassey and the Irish Loop page for more information on getting to Portugal Cove South.
Note that motorized vehicles are not permitted in the ecological reserve. On top of that, bicycles and horses are also not permitted while access to the fossils are only allowed via guided tours.
Fees and permitsEdit
- 1 Mistaken Point. One of the richest and best preserved pre-Cambrian fossils contains known anywhere in the world and has been recognized as an important site with what may be the oldest multicellular animal fossils in America and the oldest deep-water fossils in the world and the 5 km long strip of coastline was declared a nature reserve as this area is the oldest biota with the oldest known Ediacaric fossils. On 17 July 2016, the site eventually became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The fossil site can only really be reached via the Mistaken Point Guided tour which takes about 3.5 – 4 hours. Bookings for tours can either be made by calling ☏ +1 709 438-1011 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. See the park's website for more.
Buy, eat, drink and sleepEdit
There are no shops, restaurants, cafes, kiosks, bars, pubs, accommodation et cetera. However, that shouldn't be a huge surprise given the size of the park.
- Trepassey and the Irish Loop is your only way out