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Of deep marine origin, these cliffs date to the Ediacaran Period (580-560 million years ago), representing the oldest known assemblages of large fossils anywhere.
It consists of a narrow, 17 km-long strip of rugged coastal cliffs.
The vast majority of Mistaken Point’s fossils – including several type specimens – remain in situ in the field and are thus available for study in their ecological context.
Several hundred fossil specimens were collected prior to Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve being established; most of these are currently housed in the Royal Ontario Museum and form the bulk of the type specimens for taxa named and defined from Mistaken Point.
Nonetheless the property is thought to contain more specimens of Ediacara-type impression fossils than the sum total of every museum collection on Earth.
Few traces of past human activities remain and none directly affect the property’s key attributes.