Visiting the Ediacaran Fossils at Mistaken Point

It’s not everyday you get to visit 565 million year old fossils.

But on the edge of the Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, which feels like the edge of the known world, you can visit some of Earth’s oldest fossils of complex life. They’re old enough to predate the Cambrian period, and now belong to their own geological period: the Ediacaran.

But what are they? Are they connected to the animals of the Cambrian period and the rest of the Tree of Life? Or were they an experiment that flourished for millions of years before fading away?

Those questions were on my mind as I visited Mistaken Point, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you can read about my adventures in the fall issue of Hidden Compass.

Below are a few photos of my visit.

The fossil bed in the foreground, on the craggy coastline
The bizarre Ediacaran fossils
The fossils were once covered in volcanic ash
One of the hundreds of “rangeomorphs” that are visible
Like a kid in a candy shop…

Read my essay, The Medusa of Time, at Hidden Compass.