Imagine you’re at the beach at Cape Enrage. Now, time rolls back 320 million years. There is no Bay of Fundy. Instead, you’re in a forest. Plants like gigantic horsetails and club moss tower overhead. You feel the rush of air as a giant dragonfly zips by. A three-foot long millipede-like creature slithers past you. The moment when the millipede-like creature walked on wet mud has been frozen in time.
In early August, tracks of several creatures were found on the Cape Enrage beach by Matthew Stimson and Olivia King, Assistant Curator of Paleontology and Research Associate (respectively) at the New Brunswick Museum. The animals, which date back to the Carboniferous Period, the “Coal Age,” include a salamander-like creature, giant millipedes and relatives of the modern-day horseshoe crab.
The fossils from Cape Enrage are now on their way to the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John. Some may eventually be returned to the site and become incorporated into a new display about fossils and the geological history of the area.
Note: It is prohibited to collect fossils without the proper permit. However, if you do spot a fossil, take a picture of it and the surrounding rocks, record the GPS, and contact either the New Brunswick Museum or Sylvie Migneault, Assistant Manager of Cape Enrage. The New Brunswick Museum staff appreciate the work of fossil finders and will give them credit for their finds.
Images by Olivia King: tracks of a giant millipede; fern; Sylvie Migneault and Matthew Stimson.
Image of Matthew Stimson and the fossils by Janet Wallace.