Where are the Joggins Fossil Cliffs?
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are located on the beautiful Bay of Fundy, only 37 km — about 30 minutes — from the Nova Scotia Visitors Information Centre at the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border.
What Can I See?
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs is a paleontological site stretching along some 15 kilometres of shoreline on the Bay of Fundy, where you can explore for some the world’s best examples of Carboniferous fossils. Here you can take a guided tour or visit the Joggins Fossil Centre, which offers full visitor services, including interactive displays, café and gift shop.
What are the Hours of Operation and Admission Fees?
What Kinds of Fossils Can I Find at Joggins & How Old Are They?
The Carboniferous fossils of Joggins are 315 million years old and date back to the time when giant seed fern trees (now extinct), insects, primitive, lobe-finned fish, and amphibians ruled the Earth. Joggins is also the home of the world’s oldest reptiles whose descendents would give rise to the dinosaurs and mammals of later ages.
Just by walking on the beach at Joggins, one can find numerous examples of wonderfully-preserved fossilized plants, reptile and amphibian foot prints and — if you are very lucky — remains of these remarkable creatures that once inhabited the Coal Age forests of Joggins.
Can I Take Fossils Home?
- Everyone loves looking for fossils but at Joggins, finders aren't keepers!
- To protect the site for scientific research and provide a great experience for everyone, the law only allows you to collect fossils if you have a Heritage Research Permit (HRP). The government of Nova Scotia, not the Joggins Fossil Centre, is responsible for giving out permits. To apply for a permit see: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/fossils/protect/permits.htm. If you don't have a Permit, leave the fossils in place.
- Let us know what you have found — take a picture or show a staff member. Your discovery could make a valuable contribution to science!
What did the Coal Age Forests of Joggins Look Like?
315 million years ago, Joggins was located near the Earth’s equator and was part of a massive swampy river delta lying between two mountain ranges which would later become the Appalachians and Atlas Mountains.
Hylonomus lyelli in the primeval forest, by John Sibbick (with permission)
Like the Amazon of today, these ancient rivers were lined by a dense tropical forest, dominated by clubmosses (Lepidodendron and Sigillaria) which reached heights of 30m, seed fern trees and the bamboo-like horsetail, Calamites. It was a hot and humid environment, ravaged by monstrous storms that often caused devastating forest fires or the silt-laden rivers to overflow their banks and flood the forests.
The air would have hummed with the sounds of giant insects while the soggy ground crawled with all manner of creatures, from the tiny, early reptiles that hid and scurried around the trees, to huge two-metre long millipede-like arthropods that munched on the dead and rotting plants.
The rivers also teamed with life filled with giant crocodile-sized amphibians and equally-large primitive lobe-finned fish that could crawl up on the muddy river banks.
Were There Dinosaurs at Joggins?
No, dinosaurs first appeared about 100 million years after the fossils of Joggins, but can be seen at nearby Parrsboro, Nova Scotia: