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Messel Pit Fossil Site - natural history

Since the discovery of the first fossil (a fossilised crocodile) here in 1875, Messel Pit Fossil Site has attracted international scientific interest as one of the foremost fossil sites in the world. In addition, this evolutionary archive and natural monument has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1995.

One of the richest fossil sites in the world
Messel Pit Fossil Site near Darmstadt is one of Mother Nature's treasure troves. Around 50 million years ago in the Tertiary era, a variety of different animal species lived here, some of which have long since become extinct or which are now only found in the Tropics. The oil shale of the lake that once existed here are full of secrets and hide a wealth of animal and plant fossils, some of which are excellently preserved. It provides an insight into continental drift and the sedimentation of the Earth, how the oceans and land bridges were formed between the various land masses, the depth and extent of the biosphere, and the climate and lifecycles from this period.
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With more than 10,000 finds to date, the Messel site is one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Nowhere else has so many fossils in such a small area, and their quality is also virtually unparalleled. The condition of the complete skeletons, feathers, skin and hair, mother animals with foetuses and even stomach contents found here is simply incredible. One of the rarest and most famous finds is an ancient pregnant mare. Messel is to palaeontology what Pompeii is to archaeology. Attracting not only scientists, but also amateurs interested in palaeontology, geology and biology, the site has remarkable educational potential.
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Other natural history museums in Germany

A selection of other natural history museums in Germany.
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