Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fundy fossil takes a walk....

Here's a uniquely Bay of Fundy riddle: what's 300 million years old, weighs two tonnes, lived in a basement for 43 years and just made a 50-km trek across the New Brunswick - Nova Scotia border?

Answer: a two metre long fossil of the tracks of an arthropleura - a Paleozoic invertebrate that resembles a giant millipede.

This fossil was discovered by a Mount Allison University (Sackville, New Brunswick) professor in 1964 and has been housed there in a basement storeroom ever since. Yesterday morning it was transferred to its new home at the Joggins Fossil Centre across the border in Joggins, Nova Scotia.

The arthropleura may have had as many as 30 legs and left tiretread-style tracks that can still be seen fossilized in the actual Joggins fossil cliffs. The rediscovered fossil will be displayed in the lobby of the new interpretation centre - opening April 22.

(Photo of movers loading the fossil on to a truck - courtesy of Mount Allison University)

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