Chris Mansky is a self-taught fossil researcher and curator of the Blue Beach Fossil Museum near Hantsport, N.S. (Aly Thomson/CBC)

Cluttered little barn at the centre of a 350-million-year-old fossil mystery

Inside a quirky barn near Hantsport, N.S., 350-million-year-old fossils are displayed on a dusty piano, in crowded china cabinets and on a child’s red wagon.

It’s a seemingly haphazard museum with unexpected importance: the adjacent beach is one of only two places in the world where the oldest fossilized land animals on Earth can be found.

Researchers from Harvard University, Cambridge University and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science are drawn to the picturesque shoreline to examine fossils that cast new light on a little-understood time period.

Still, the museum that houses the unique treasures is operating on a shoestring budget.

A true labour of love, Chris Mansky and his wife, Sonja Wood, have run the Blue Beach Fossil Museum for 19 years, mostly on visitor donations… more

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