Not everyone is in agreement about the meaning of the Micmac word “Escuminac”. Some think it means “meeting place”, and others, like Étienne Guinard of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (Quebec’s public body for managing place names), say it means “there are small fruits up to here”.

Escuminac is both the name of a municipality and a small river that flows southward into the estuary of the Ristigouche River. The place where the two rivers meet is called Escuminac Bay. The bay has a relatively small size, but about a hundred years ago, it also encompassed the body of water along the Miguasha cliff. This is why Miguasha specimens were once referred to as being “Scaumenac Bay” fossils. From the local place name also came the title of the fossil-rich rock sequence: the Escuminac Formation. The best studied geological section of this rock formation, and one that serves as a reference section, is the cliff outcrop located within the boundaries of the Parc national de Miguasha.

The enormous number of fossilized fish contained in the Escuminac Formation has garnered it worldwide acclaim among paleontologists who specialize in the Devonian Period. The age of this rock formation is quite exceptional in the Gaspé region, and other than extensions of the same formation along the northern shore of the Baie des Chaleurs, no other similar sedimentary deposits of Upper Devonian age are known in the region.
Miguasha National Park

© Miguasha National Park 2007

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