Messel Pit Fossils

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Messel Pit Lagerstätte, Germany

Noted for fossils having incredible Soft Tissue Preservation







The so called Messel Pit (also called Messel oil shales) is a world famous fossil Lagerstätte of Eocene age (about 47 million years ago) some 20 miles from Frankfurt, Germany. The area’s oil shales were actively mined in the 19th century. The fossils from Messel are extraordinary due to magnificent soft tissue preservation. Stomach contents and color have also been found preserved. The fossils come from water laden sediment, and require special processes to remove and transport, including embedding them in resin. Messel is also an exceptional fossil site due to the diversity of organisms found, including a wide variety of mammals (e.g., bats, kopidodons and other rodents, leptictidiums, creodonts, anteaters, tapirs, hedgehogs, and many more) as well as marsupials and several early primates. Many bird fossils have been recovered, including early or proto ostrich, hunters resembling hawks and owls, and other birds related to hummingbirds and sandpipers. Reptiles are well represents, including crocodiles, alligators, snakes, turtles and lizards. The diverse fauana also includes fish and insects.