The Messel Pit is a stone pit that is no longer being mined which is located close to the village of Messel. This pit is known for having a large amount of fossils in it. Because of the fossils it has become a site of geological and scientific importance. The pit was very close to becoming a dump site but the locals put a stop to it and the pit was declared a UNESCO World Heritage. They made it official on December 9th, 1995. There are discoveries of interest still happening there today. The site has also become very interesting for tourist to visit possibly hoping to find a special fossil. Fossils were found at the pit as early as 1900. The pit had been being mined for brown coal and later oil shale. The serious excavations were started by scientist in the 1970′s.
47 Million Years Ago
Fossils found in the pit were formed during the Eocene Epoch of the Paleogene time. That was 47 million years ago. It’s hard to believe that something formed that many years ago is still being found today. The dates can be figured by different information in the fossil. Fossils found in the shale rock in the lake bed were very clear and well kept. The upper layers of the lake showed a number of organisms while the lower part had not been disturbed much by the currents.
2 Turtles Mating Found Fossilized
These two turtles are helping scientist in their research to find out how Messel Pit became such a hot spot for some of the best fossils in the world. The finding of the two turtles mating is the most unique find across the world. The lake became the deathbed of many animals which became preserved in volcanic sediments. The sediments turned to oil shale. The turtles were found to be a male and a female and they were in position to mate at the time of their deaths. It’s possible that these animals died 47 million years ago due to carbon dioxide poisoning the lakes or due to bacteria on the surface water.