Miguasha National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site In Quebec, Canada

Famous for its wealth of fossils, the Miguasha National Park is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Canada.

Where Is The Miguasha National Park Located?

The Miguasha National Park is a paleontological site located on the Gaspé peninsula’s southern coast in south-eastern Quebec. The site is located near the Carleton-sur-Mer, the fifth biggest town in the Gaspésie's south shore. The Miguasha National Park is recognized for its wealth of fossils which provide important information to paleontologists about the evolution of life on our planet.

History Of The Miguasha National Park

Abraham Gesner, a pioneer of the petroleum industry, medical doctor, and geologist first discovered the fossil site in 1842. The fossils found by him were transferred to the Royal Scottish Museum and the British Museum. The news of Gesner’s discoveries spread like wildfire and there were even rumors that some Americans were trying to buy the site where fossils were discovered. In 1985, the possible privatization of the fossil site was stalled by the Québec government by declaring the region as a provincial park. Later, it was established as a national park by the government. Since then, more than 5,000 fossils have been identified here and categorized by paleontologists for further study. On 1999, the Miguasha National Park was declared as a World Heritage Site.

Geology Of The National Park

The Miguasha National Park’s coastal cliffs are made of gray sedimentary rocks of Upper Devonian strata. Alternating layers of shale and sandstone that are 350 to 375 million years old constitute the structure of the cliffs. Forests of fir, aspen, and birch grow atop this rocky layer.

Paleontological Wealth Of The Miguasha National Park

The Miguasha National Park is believed to host the world’s most outstanding collection of fossils dating back to the Devonian Period or the 'Age of Fishes’. The discovery of some of the best-fossilized specimens of the lobe-finned fishes, the fishes that evolved to become the tetrapods has been discovered here. Another important discovery is that of the Spermasposita that is believed to one of the Earth’s oldest flowering plant genera.

The Miguasha Natural History Museum located in the park houses over 9,000 fossilized flora and fauna specimens. The museum is thus a major attraction for visitors touring the national park.

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