FOSSILS & GEOLOGY
Over time the intense Bay of Fundy tides have carved an unparalleled masterpiece of coastal terrain. You'll feel like you're on another planet as you encounter awesome cliff-scapes, unusual sea stacks and "flowerpots" sculpted at the hands of Mother Nature.
Over time, erosion from the tides has revealed a natural history dating back 300 Million years. The Bay of Fundy is one of the world's most renowned locations for fossils, dinosaur bones and semiprecious stones.
Some of the oldest dinosaur bones in North America have been found in an area near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, known as Wassen's Bluff. Because the tides erode the cliffs so rapidly, new fossils are constantly being exposed. In 1986, a team of researchers found 100,000 pieces of fossilized bone including large and small dinosaurs, ancestral sharks, crocodiles, and primitive fish. This was the largest find in North America, dating back to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary period. Among the find were the skulls of multiple Trithelodonts, a type of reptile most closely linked to mammals and believed to be a significant clue to the mystery of mammal evolution.
A well-known amateur geologist of the area, Eldon George is also credited with finding the fossilized footprints of the smallest dinosaur to walk the earth, Coelophysis. This and other fossils are on display at Eldon's Rock and Mineral Shop in Parrsboro, while guided beach tours and numerous exhibits are offered at the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro as well.
It was at Joggins Fossil Cliffs where the fossilized remains of Hylonomus lyelli, the first reptile to inhabit the land, were found. This discovery made the cliffs a historical reference point where animals first began to live on land. The Fossil Cliffs at Joggins have been cited in Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (1859) and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As the Fundy tides continue to erode the cliffs, fossils on the beach are continuously replenished resulting in fantastic opportunities to explore and discover past life to all who visit. If you look carefully or join an experienced guide you will find fossilized trees still visible in the cliffs.
Gems and Minerals
There is a reason why coastal areas near Parrsboro are known as "nature's jewel box". Beautiful gems such as quartz agate, jasper, amethyst and zeolite minerals have been found up and down the coast. Rock hounds travel to Parrsboro from around the world to the annual Nova Scotia Gem and Mineral Show.