09/21/2015 11:11 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Newfoundland fossil site prepares for next step in UNESCO World Heritage bid

MISTAKEN POINT, N.L. — A rare collection of sea fossils on the southeastern tip of Newfoundland is a step closer to possibly being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The province says an official with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature will visit the Mistaken Point ecological reserve next week.

Mistaken Point is home to the oldest-known evidence of early multi-cellular life — a 565-million-year-old sea floor that's been slowly exposed by the pounding Atlantic surf.

The province says most of the fossils at the site belong to ancient creatures that are long extinct.

Next week's field visit is part of a larger evaluation process by international experts.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will make a final decision at its annual meeting next July in Istanbul, Turkey.

If Mistaken Point is successful in its bid, the government says it would be the first UNESCO site managed by the province and the only one on the island's east coast.

Out of the 1,031 World Heritage Sites around the globe, three are in found in Newfoundland and Labrador.

They include Gros Morne National Park, the L'Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site and the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station.


The Canadian Press