Anticosti Island, Quebec
SIGNIFICANCE This geological and paleontological wonder serves as a major research site, drawing those interested in studying fossils and sediments dating from the OrdovicianSilurian period, between 435 and 447 million years ago, a critical point in the history of life on Earth, when changes in climate and sea levels caused the extinction of nearly all ocean life on the planet. The island is a natural wonder replete with caves, lakes, canyons and sightings of many species including peregrine falcons and bald eagles. SIZE 7,943 square kilometres LOCATION Where the St. Lawrence River flows into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
CURRENT OFFICIAL PROTECTION The Quebec government created the 572-square-kilometre Parc national d’anticosti in 2001.
RARITY FACTOR The island contains the most intact and the most visible collection of fossils from the Ordovician-silurian period in the world, with some 600 species recorded. While many fossil collections can be found in museums and universities, the majority of the fossils here can be studied in place. Anticosti is also home to an abundance of white-tailed deer, which number more than 150,000 on the island.