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World Heritage: Canada

Mistaken Point

Newfoundland and Labrador
Geographical Location:
46,62° N – 53,17° W

Mistaken Point possesses the world's earliest record of multi-cellular life in ancient oceans.

Mistaken Point © Locke, G.

Watching the waves, translucent green and frigid, pound the steep cliffs of the Avalon Peninsula evokes images of the world when it was young, when the land was lifeless rock and the evolution of life was taking its first tentative steps in the ocean. It is fitting that in the surf-ravaged rocks of Mistaken Point is a clear record of the early evolution of life. Fossils of thirty species of soft-bodied animals, preserved in the ash of ancient volcanoes that erupted 560-575 million years ago, provide the earliest and most complete record known of Ediacaran multi-cellular life on the late Precambrian deep-sea floor. Impressions of feather-like fronds, discs and spindles comprise the oldest and most diverse assemblage of multi-cellular life known.