The Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a 689 ha palaeontological site
along the coast of Nova Scotia (eastern Canada), have been described as
the “coal age Galápagos” due to their wealth of fossils from the
Carboniferous period (354 to 290 million years ago). The rocks of this
site are considered to be iconic for this period of the history of Earth
and are the world’s thickest and most comprehensive record of the
Pennsylvanian strata (dating back 318 to 303 million years) with the
most complete known fossil record of terrestrial life from that time.
These include the remains and tracks of very early animals and the
rainforest in which they lived, left in situ, intact and undisturbed.
With its 14.7 km of sea cliffs, low bluffs, rock platforms and beach,
the site groups remains of three ecosystems: estuarine bay, floodplain
rainforest and fire prone forested alluvial plain with freshwater pools.
It offers the richest assemblage known of the fossil life in these
three ecosystems with 96 genera and 148 species of fossils and 20
footprint groups. The site is listed as containing outstanding examples
representing major stages in the history of Earth.