Miguasha National Park, near Carleton-sur-Mer, on the southern coast of the Gaspé Peninsula in southeastern Quebec, is an important paleontological site in Canada. The national park, created in 1985, has one of the best examples of fossils from the Devonian Period, also known as the "Age of Fishes". Within Miguasha National Park, visitors can view specimens from five of the six fossil fish groups of the Devonian Period. This is because the park has one of the highest number and best-preserved fossil specimens of lobe-finned fishes, which scientists believe evolved into four-legged, air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates.
Miguasha National Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 23rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 29 November to 4 December, 1999. The Committee also praised the Government of Canada for the quality of the assessment applied to this nomination, and noted it as a model for future fossil-related nominations.
Photos of Miguasha National Park
Outcrop of the Devonian bed rich in fish fossils in Miguasha National Park
Author: François Maxime Langlois (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)
What to See in Miguasha National Park
Visitors to Miguasha National Park can visit the Miguasha Natural History Museum, where they can view its collection of over 9000 specimens of fossil fish and plants. The national park itself comprises coastal cliffs of grey sedimentary rock which are between 350 to 375 million years old. The forest here are composed mainly of birch, aspen and fir trees.
The first fossil was discovered here in 1842 by a geologist Abraham Gesner, who was also a pioneer in the petroleum industry. These early finds are now housed in the British Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum.
World Heritage Site Inscription Details
Location: N 48 6 18 W 66 21 11 in Gaspé Peninsula, in the Province of Quebec, Canada
Inscription Year: 1999
Type of Site: Natural
Inscription Criteria: VIII
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Visiting Miguasha National Park
Miguasha National park is at Chaleur Bay. You can reach it by taking Route 132 to Nouvelle. The Natural History Museum there opens Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from 1 June to 11 July; 9:00 am to 6:00 pm from 12 July to 22 August; 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from 23 August to 12 October, and from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm from 13 October to 18 December.
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