320-million-year-old fossils discovered at Cape Enrage, N.B.
CAPE ENRAGE, N.B. -- With its spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick's Cape Enrage is a popular tourist destination. But some recent discoveries of the ancient variety have researchers exploring the area.
Researchers from the New Brunswick Museum are searching for ancient signs of life along the base of the seaside cliffs of Cape Enrage, N.B.
“Often we’re walking a beach, we might see something different,” explains Olivia King, a research associate with the New Brunswick Museum. “We may see a recent rock fall that happened, and at that point, we usually stop, take a minute, flip over a couple of rocks.”
In doing so, the team has made a major discovery -- the first evidence of ancient animal life found at the location.
Fossilized footprints of amphibians, reptiles, horseshoe crabs, giant millipedes and more -- the first evidence of animals preserved in these rocks at this site from the carboniferous period.
“We can paint a better picture of what the landscape was like here at Cape Enrage 320 million years ago,” says Matt Stimson, assistant curator of paleontology and geology at the New Brunswick Museum. “We have the plants, we have a really good idea of what the plants looked like, what the flora and forest looked like. But now we have evidence of what the animals were as well.”
Members of the New Brunswick museum, geological survey branch and Cape Enrage have been examining and documenting fossils in the area for years.
There are an abundance of them, and Cape Enrage is developing a guided tour to show visitors to the area.
“For years people have been bringing up to the site fossils from these cliffs, and we didn’t really know what to do with them, so now we know, we have an amateur paleontologist permit now,” says Sylvie Migneault, Cape Enrage assistant manager.
The next step is bringing the samples back to the New Brunswick Museum to be catalogued to become part of the provincial collection.
Anyone who discovers a fossil in the area is asked to bring it to the attention of the Cape Enrage staff, or the New Brunswick museum.