World Heritage Photos

Messel Pit Fossil Site

Messel Pit Fossil Site: The Messel Pit Fossil Site is located about 25 km south of Frankfurt am Main, near Darmstadt and the village of Messel in Germany. The Messel Pit holds the richest deposit of mammal fossils in the world. The Messel Pit originally was a oil shale mine in the period 1859-1971. After the mine was closed, the local govornment considered to fill the open mine pit with garbage despite the knowledge of fossils. The scientific community was succesful in saving the Messiel Pit and to protect it as a national monument. The fossils found in the Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, 50 million years ago. In that time the Messel pit was a deep vulcanic crater lake in a wet tropical climate. Probably due to volcanic gas birds, bats and other animals might have been overwhelmed and fallen into the lake, the water of the lake had nearly no oxygen, where birds, bats and other animals were preserved remarkable well. The first fossil was found in 1875, a well-preserved crocodile. Insects, turtles, fish, mammals, species of plants, even a prehistoric horse were discovered. The Messel Pit is the richest site in the world for understanding the living environment during the Eocene. The Messel Pit (in German Grube Messel) is located about 40 km north of the Abbey of Lorsch, also an UNESCO World Heritage. The Messel Pit Fossil Site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. 

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Messel Pit Fossil Site - A fossil in oil shale, found at the Messel Pit in Germany. The Messel Pit holds the richest deposit of mammal fossils in the world....

A fossil in oil shale, found at the Messel Pit in Germany. The Messel Pit holds the richest deposit of mammal fossils in the world. The first animal fossil was dicovered in 1875, the remains of a crocodile. The fossils found in the Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, about 50 million years ago. The Messel Pit Fossil Site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. 

  1. Messel Pit Fossil Site - A fossil in oil shale, found at the Messel Pit in Germany. The Messel Pit holds the richest deposit of mammal fossils in the world....

    A fossil in oil shale, found at the Messel Pit in Germany. The Messel Pit holds the richest deposit of mammal fossils in the world. The first animal fossil was dicovered in 1875, the remains of a crocodile. The fossils found in the Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, about 50 million years ago. The Messel Pit Fossil Site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. 

  2. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: The fossils found in the Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, about 50 million years ago. The fossils are...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: The fossils found in the Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, about 50 million years ago. The fossils are remarkably well preserved. Not only the skeletons, but also the soft tissues, such as the stomach and intestines are preserved, even the fur and feathers of some species are preserved.

  3. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: The copy of a fossil found at the Messel Pit in Germany, the fossil shows a 50 million years...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: The copy of a fossil found at the Messel Pit in Germany, the fossil shows a 50 million years old prehistoric horse with a shoulder height of 30 cm. The examination of the stomach contents showed that the prehistoric horse ate the leaves of deciduous trees and fruit. More than 40,000 fossils have been found at the Messel Pit.

  4. Messel Pit Fossil Site - The Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, in that period the Messel Pit was a deep vulcanic crater lake in a wet tropical...

    The Messel Pit date back to the Middle Eocene, in that period the Messel Pit was a deep vulcanic crater lake in a wet tropical climate. Probably due to volcanic gas birds, bats and animals might have been overwhelmed and fallen into the lake, the bacterial-poor and oxygen-poor water of the lake resulted in the preservation of birds, bats, insects, tree leaves and animals.

  5. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: The imprint of a tree leaf in a piece oil shale, found in the Messel Pit. It is possible to see the original...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: The imprint of a tree leaf in a piece oil shale, found in the Messel Pit. It is possible to see the original fossils from the Messel Pit in the Messel Town Museum in the town of Messel, the Museum of Hessen in Darmstadt and Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt. More than 40,000 fossils were found in the Messel Pit.

  6. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: Researchers are still working on the deposits of the Messel Pit. The Messel Pit measures about 0.7 km² and...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: Researchers are still working on the deposits of the Messel Pit. The Messel Pit measures about 0.7 km² and is 60 metres deep. The Messel Pit is the richest site in the world for understanding the living environment during the Eocene Epoch. The Messel Pit Fossil Site is only accessible by guided tour.

  7. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: Millions of years ago, flowing water carved the surface of this piece of oil shale. Entrance to the Messel Pit is only by...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: Millions of years ago, flowing water carved the surface of this piece of oil shale. Entrance to the Messel Pit is only by guided tour. Visitors can park close to the Messel Pit Visitor Centre. The Messel Pit Fossil Site is located about 25 km south of Frankfurt am Main and close to Darmstadt and the village of Messel in Germany.

  8. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: Layers of oil-bearing shale, the Messel Pit originally was an oil shale mine in the period 1859-1971....

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: Layers of oil-bearing shale, the Messel Pit originally was an oil shale mine in the period 1859-1971. After the mine was closed, the local govornment considered to fill the open mine pit with garbage despite the knowledge of the fossils. The scientific community was succesful in saving the Messiel Pit and to protect it as a national monument.

  9. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: An artesian water well at the bottom of the Messel Pit, the water is about 30 millions years old, it is safe to...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: An artesian water well at the bottom of the Messel Pit, the water is about 30 millions years old, it is safe to drink, but it has a metallic taste. Fossils found at the Messel Pit Fossil Site include insects, turtles, fish, mammals, species of plants, birds and bats. Even a well-preserved crocodile and a prehistoric horse were discovered.

  10. Messel Pit Fossil Site - Messel Pit Fossil Site: A water well at the Messel Pit, the water is about 30 millions years old. During the guided tour,...

    Messel Pit Fossil Site: A water well at the Messel Pit, the water is about 30 millions years old. During the guided tour, you will have the possibility to drink the water, the water has a metallic taste. The Messel Pit Fossil Site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. The Messel Pit is part of the UNESCO Earthly treasure and architecture route in Germany.