An Event 300 Million Years in the Making
March 25th, 2011
The Joggins Fossil Institute is pleased to announce the most important fossil ever discovered at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site is coming home to Joggins. The fossilized remains of Hylonomus lyelli, the earliest occurrence of reptilian life discovered and only found at Joggins, is coming home to the Joggins Fossil Centre. In 2002, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly declared the 312 million year old Hylonomus lyelli fossil as Nova Scotia’s Provincial Fossil.
Hylonomus lyelli was discovered in a fossilized tree stump at Joggins in 1859 by Pictou-born geologist, Sir John William Dawson. Dawson had been working closely at the time with Sir Charles Lyell, the founder of modern geology, as they had previously discovered fossilized remains of other amphibious tetrapods (four-legged creatures) in the upright fossilized trees at Joggins. However, Dawson had no idea at the time that he had discovered the fossilized remains of the earliest occurrence of reptilian life and ancestor to all reptiles (including dinosaurs!), mammals (including humans!), and birds. To pay homage to Dawson’s close friend and mentor, Sir Charles Lyell, Dawson named the find Hylonomus lyelli, which is Greek for “Lyell’s forest dweller”. The fossil is on loan to the Joggins Fossil Centre from the Museum of Natural History, London.
Join us on April 23rd at Joggins Fossil Centre for the public unveiling of the Hylonomus lyelli exhibit which has been made possible through the partnership of the Joggins Fossil Institute with the Atlantic Geoscience Society. At 2pm, Cambridge University vertebrate palaeontologist Dr. Jenny Clack will be giving a special presentation about the significance of this rare fossil. Light refreshments will be served following Dr. Clack’s presentation.
Hylonomus lyelli will be on display at the Joggins Fossil Centre from April 23rd until October 31st. For directions, costs associated with a visit or any additional information about the Joggins Fossil Centre and Cliffs, please visit us on the web at www.jogginsfossilcliffs.net, email us at email@example.com, call us toll free at 1-888-932-9766, or write to us at 100 Main Street, Joggins, NS, B0L 1A0.