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The fossils of Miguasha National Park

The Story


In 1982, scientists working in a rocky area of eastern Quebec unearth the skull of a tetrapod, a four-legged amphibian. The area was already notable for its fish fossils, but this discovery has rocked the world of paleontology. Until then, the first land animal was thought to originate in Greenland. Marius Arsenault, director of natural history for Miguasha National Park, discusses the find in this 1982 report from CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks.

Medium: Radio
Program: Quirks & Quarks
Broadcast Date: March 13, 1982
Guest(s): Marius Arsenault, Hans-Peter Schultze
Host: Jay Ingram
Duration: 7:05
Photo: This image by Neumeier is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Did You know?


• In 1985 the government of Quebec created Miguasha National Park, which is located on the Gaspé Peninsula. Miguasha's museum features a collection of over 9,000 specimens of fossil fish and plants from the park. Its coastal cliffs are composed of sedimentary rock that is 350 to 375 million years old.

• In 1999, the park was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

• On its website, UNESCO gives its reasoning for the designation: "In its representation of vertebrate life, Miguasha is the most outstanding fossil site in the world for illustrating the Devonian as the "Age of Fishes". The area is of paramount importance in having the greatest number and best preserved fossil specimens found anywhere in the world of the lobe-finned fishes that gave rise to the first four-legged, air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates -- the tetrapodes."

 


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