Fern Ledges and Marie Stopes, Part I

Dr. Randall Miller Research Curator, Geology and Palaeontology New Brunswick Museum

New Brunswick Museum
New Brunswick Museum
Saint John, New Brunswick, CANADA
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This is the famous Fern Ledges fossil site in west Saint John and it’s part of the Lancaster Formation. It is Upper Carboniferous age, about 315 million years old. It became famous for some of the fossils that were found here. In 1860 Fred Hartt, who was a new member of the Steinhammer Club, came here with his friends and they collected plant fossils, and insect fossils which are extremely rare, and one of the oldest land snails in the world, and Sir William Dawson who was their mentor with the Steinhammer Club and the early Natural History Society, published some of those results. And he also took some of the results of the Steinhammer Club and put it into the second edition of Acadian Geology. So the site became rather well known. Sam Scudder in the United States who was an insect specialist, described some of the insect fossils from here, and in fact half of the fossils are now at Harvard University and half at the New Brunswick Museum, and those specimens, one of those specimens was a thing called Xenoneura antiquorum, it had a stridulating organ on it, that’s the sound making organ, and if you look at some of the early publications about this site from the 1800s, they describe the chirping insects in the Devonian woods. Even Darwin made mention of that particular specimen.

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