The idea of holding an international event at Miguasha was first conceived in the 1980’s. In 1987, the idea took an important step towards becoming a reality when paleontologists at China’s 6th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates enthusiastically accepted an invitation to meet again at the Parc national de Miguasha in 1991.

In anticipation of this event, and in light of ever-increasing attendance at Miguasha’s small natural history museum, the Quebec government decided to proceed with a major renovation of the museum. A new permanent exhibit was put into place, and on the research side, a new laboratory and collection room for storing fossils were added to the facility.

The inauguration of the updated natural history museum took place in early June, 1991. A few days later, some 62 paleontologists from 15 countries converged on Miguasha for the 7th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates under the leadership of park director, Marius Arsenault. It was the first time that this event was held in North America.

The title of Honorary Chairman was given to Swedish professor Erik Jarvik, whose p Read More
The idea of holding an international event at Miguasha was first conceived in the 1980’s. In 1987, the idea took an important step towards becoming a reality when paleontologists at China’s 6th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates enthusiastically accepted an invitation to meet again at the Parc national de Miguasha in 1991.

In anticipation of this event, and in light of ever-increasing attendance at Miguasha’s small natural history museum, the Quebec government decided to proceed with a major renovation of the museum. A new permanent exhibit was put into place, and on the research side, a new laboratory and collection room for storing fossils were added to the facility.

The inauguration of the updated natural history museum took place in early June, 1991. A few days later, some 62 paleontologists from 15 countries converged on Miguasha for the 7th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates under the leadership of park director, Marius Arsenault. It was the first time that this event was held in North America.

The title of Honorary Chairman was given to Swedish professor Erik Jarvik, whose prolific career had been dedicated to Miguasha’s fossil fish, particularly Eusthenopteron foordi. Special homage was paid to this man of science as he walked the shores of Miguasha for the first time in his life. Expressions of gratitude and recognition were also dedicated to the guest of honour, Mr. René Bureau, the man behind the “Miguasha Project”.

More than forty presentations were made by symposium participants in the new amphitheatre. The first of two field trips brought the visitors to the Forillon Peninsula at the tip of the Gaspé region, and the second to Nova Scotia for a tour of geological and paleontological localities, including the famed Joggins site.

The success of the 7th Symposium reflected the widespread recognition of Miguasha as one of the world’s foremost fossil sites, and reaffirmed its well-deserved reputation and pivotal role in the study of the evolution of life.

© Miguasha National Park 2007

A scientific compilation

After the 7th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates was held at Miguasha in 1991, specialists published a compilation of the knowledge on Miguasha’s fossil fauna and flora. The volume was edited by Hans-Peter Schultze and Richard Cloutier.

Miguasha National Park
1996
© Miguasha National Park


Symposium at Miguasha

The official poster of the 7th International Symposium on the Studies of Lower Vertebrates that took place at Miguasha in 1991. Philippe Janvier drew the fish.

Miguasha National Park
1991
© Miguasha National Park


Participants at the symposium

Participants at the 1991 symposium.

Miguasha National Park
1991
© Miguasha National Park


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • identify and classify different types of fossils;
  • explain the stages of fossilization and the best conditions to create and preserve fossils;
  • make assumptions about the evolution of living beings;
  • make assumptions as to the explanation of the disappearance of some species.

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