Fos­sil Cen­tre fills vis­i­tor with ‘awe’ and ‘won­der’

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

My wife and I live in Utica, New York and dur­ing our re­cent va­ca­tion in Canada we specif­i­cally made a point of vis­it­ing the Cape Bre­ton Fos­sil Cen­tre in Syd­ney Mines.

We found out about the Fos­sil Cen­tre in the “Nova Sco­tia 2017 Do­ers & Dream­ers Travel Guide” and when we ar­rived on July 20 we were greeted by the cu­ra­tor, Dr. Stu­art Critchley.

The all-vol­un­teer staff was most wel­com­ing and help­ful. The tour guide for the col­lec­tion of Penn­syl­va­nian plant fos­sils of the Syd­ney coal re­gion was well in­formed about the col­lec­tion.

As a prac­tic­ing pa­le­on­tol­o­gist, my first im­pres­sion of this col­lec­tion was one of awe, won­der and amaze­ment. This is with­out doubt the finest col­lec­tion on dis­play of Penn­syl­va­nian plant fos­sils I have ever seen. It by far out­ranks all other col­lec­tions of plant fos­sils of the same age that I have seen in other parts of Canada, the United States and Eng­land.

The col­lec­tion at the Cape Bre­ton Fos­sil Cen­tre is com­pre­hen­sive in cov­er­age and is well and ac­cu­rately la­beled. The de­gree of preser­va­tion of the plant fos­sils is su­perb and is su­pe­rior to the plant fos­sils from Jog­gins, St. Claire, Penn., the Ma­zon Creek re­gion of Illi­nois and the var­i­ous coal fields of Eng­land.

I highly rec­om­mend the Fos­sil Cen­tre to any­one in­ter­ested in this as­pect of the nat­u­ral his­tory of Nova Sco­tia. It is a shame that the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment does not seem to ap­pre­ci­ate its im­mense sci­en­tific, his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural value.

Shut­ting down the Fos­sil Cen­tre would be to ig­nore a sig­nif­i­cant as­pect of the nat­u­ral and cul­tural his­tory of Nova Sco­tia as well as to deny its own cit­i­zens a unique view of the world as it ex­isted 350 mil­lion years ago. Vic­tor P. Toller­ton, Jr. Utica, New York

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