Urpferdchen on tour

Traveling exhibition to the UNESCO World Heritage monument Grube Messel

Large "Hessian" prehistoric horse, total length about 96 cm Wolfgang Fuhrmannek, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Read out

Whether crocodiles, flamingos, insects or primeval horses - the fossil deposit Grube Messel is bursting with prehistoric biodiversity. Accordingly, it was included in the list of World Heritage monuments more than ten years ago. Now, the Hessian State Museum Darmstadt shows the largest and most important selection of Messel fossils ever assembled for a special exhibition.

About nine kilometers northeast of Darmstadt lies the pit Messel a unique archive that resurrects a 47 million year old habitat. In addition to biodiversity, it is above all the quality of the finds that makes Messel so significant. As a special feature of the fossils in addition to the plumage or the hair part also soft tissue structures or even the stomach contents have been preserved. The fossils date back to a time when the dinosaurs were already extinct and the mammals were still at the beginning of their successful development.

Tropical lake landscape

At that time Messel was still ten degrees nearer the equator, about the height of today's Naples. Since the earth's climate at that time was already warmer than it is today, an expansive tropical landscape, with an average temperature of 25 ° C and evergreen forest, is said to have spread around the Messeler Maarsee. But even if there is nothing reminiscent of this on the ground today, almost all of the fauna and flora of that time are still slumbering in a layer of clay about 200 meters thick. This was created by the slow and almost two million years lasting silting of a lake.

So far, scientists have been able to uncover more than 130 vertebrate species and plants from more than 100 families. Due to their good state of preservation, mammals in particular achieved worldwide fame, including several types of primeval horses. The equally diverse finds of birds are significant for the phylogenetic development of their present-day relatives. Impressive was in addition to bouquets and flamingos certainly the Diatrymas, a crane bird. Although he was unable to fly, but almost two meters in size.

Famous exhibits

Also in the special exhibition from 29. March to 30. September 2007 in the Hessian state museum Darmstadt the visitor receives an atmospheric idea of ​​the former habitat: Thus the famous anteater, Eurotamandua joresi, belongs likewise to the 125 issued objects as the forerunners of the horses (kind Propalaeotherium). "Messel on Tour" is a traveling exhibition and, after its first stop in Darmstadt, will be on display in several major natural history museums in Germany and abroad. display


Hessian State Museum Darmstadt

Peace Square 1

64283 Darmstadt

0 61 51 | 16 57 03

(Hessian State Museum Darmstadt, 27.03.2007 - AHE)