500 Million Year Old Fossil Donated to the Aquatarium

Brockville, ON – 500 Million Year Old Fossil donated to the Aquatarium; TISS Students build a base befitting of this River artifact!

During the summer of 2013, Nicholas Sheridan found an unusual rock on the shore of the St. Lawrence River in Maitland, ON. Intrigued by the appearance of two large circular eyes etched into the rock, he decided to roll this heavy stone up a steep embankment and plunk it in the back of his pick-up truck. With some research and a call to the Palaeontology Department at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, he and his parents confirmed that it was in fact a stromatolite most likely around 500 Million years old!

During the Paleozoic time period dating back 440 and 510 million years ago our local area was covered by warm water sea. These waters were naturally warm because our land mass was slowly moving north over the equator at that time. Sea life was primitive but was about to explode with a variety of now extinct species. One life form that has been in existence for nearly a billion years already was that of the Stromatolite. These rock-like structures are the remains of a colony of single celled microbes called cyanobacteria. They are the first organisms to begin the process of photosynthesis, oxygenating our atmosphere to allow new species to develop.

Humbled by the geological and historical significance of the find, Nicolas decided to donate it to the Aquatarium. He states, “This fossil is too important to keep for myself, it belongs to the people of our community and to the Province of Ontario”.

In the spirit of this donation, the students of Thousand Islands Secondary School (TISS) manufacturing have been working hard to create a base for this fossil, under the direction of Rod Jones. All supplies were generously donated by Nick’s parents, Dave and Diane Sheridan, and the cutting and polishing of the stone was provided by Shawn Fisher of Kingston.

“We are very excited to accept this generous donation from the Sheridan Family and TISS Students” said the Aquatarium’s Executive Director Bill Rogerson. “It is such a wonderful representation of the beauty that is found in the 1000 Islands region and it will have a prominent home in the Aquatarium for all to see and enjoy.”

The Aquatarium is a 27,000-square foot interactive, learning and discovery centre located on the shore of the St. Lawrence River that will focus on building awareness and appreciation for the 1000 Islands region by inspiring curiousity through experiential learning.

For more information please contact:

Trish Buote, Director of Development
613 246-1927

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