Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Mistaken Point is located in Newfoundland
Mistaken Point
Mistaken Point
Location of Mistaken Point in Newfoundland

Mistaken Point is a small Canadian headland on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Mistaken Point takes its name from the deadly results of mistaking it for Cape Race, in the area's typically foggy weather. Sailors who would make this mistake would turn north, thinking they had reached Cape Race Harbour, and immediately run into treacherous rocks.

UNESCO World Heritage Site[edit]

It is the site of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, which contains one of the most diverse and well-preserved collections of Precambrian fossils known. The site was first discovered in 1967 by S.B. Misra, a graduate student of Memorial University as a part of his thesis work.[1] Misra discovered a fossil, Fractofusus misrai in the reserve in June 1967, which was eventually named after him in 2007.[2]

The site became quickly recognized in the mid-1980s as an important find containing probably the oldest metazoan fossils in North America and the most ancient deep-water marine fossils in the world. In 1987, a 5 kilometer stretch of coastline was declared an ecological reserve. Studies have shown that the Mistaken Point biota represents the oldest Ediacaran fossils known anywhere, in fact the oldest large and architecturally complex organisms in Earth history.[3]

On July 17, 2016 it was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[4]

Avalonia terrane[edit]

The fossil terrane of Mistaken Point is the named Avalonian terrane that is found in Western Europe. It formed in the early Cambrian when Pannotia broke from Gondwana-(now South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Australia).

Cultural references[edit]

Prolific Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip include a reference to Mistaken Point in "Fly", the fourth track on their 2006 album World Container. The same track also includes a reference to Moonbeam, Ontario. The wreck of the RMS Titanic was found on 1 September 1985, slightly more than 600 km (370 mi) from Mistaken Point.


  1. ^ http://www.mistakenpointfauna.com/paper1.html MISRA, S.B.,(1969a) Geology of Biscay Bay-Cape Race area, Avalon Peninsula, South Eastern Newfoundland
  2. ^ BBC News (18 September 2007). "Rare honour for Indian geologist". BBC South Asia. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Queens University Research Archived 24 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Unesco World Heritage List

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°37′32″N 53°09′41″W / 46.62556°N 53.16139°W / 46.62556; -53.16139