Messel Woodpecker

non det., Mitteleozän

About the object

Around 48 million years ago, the Upper Rhine area was located in the subtropics and was an ideal habitat for monkeys, bats, insectivores and small prehistoric horses. At that time sediments were deposited in a maar lake created by volcanic activity - together with dead crocodiles, warm water fish, turtles, insects and an abundance of heat-loving plant species. The finest details, such as skin shadows, fur or feathers, sometimes even organs and stomach contents, were preserved in an oxygen-poor bacterial metamorphosis. During the mining of oil shale, many fossils were found in a perfectly preserved condition. Due to this spectacular fossil discovery, the world-famous »Messel Pit« near Darmstadt has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

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