Messel: An Ancient Greenhouse Ecosystem


I love fossils. How can you not? The preserved remains of organisms no longer here. A glimpse into life so far back in time we can’t even begin to contemplate it’s vastness. Evidence that this was a real creature. Alive. Moving. Breathing. They really are incredible. What is even more incredible is that it’s extremely rare to become a fossil. An animal needs just the right conditions: to be quickly buried so no scavengers to pull apart their bodies, and fine sediment lacking oxygen so there are no worms or other critters are in the mud to munch away.

That’s only the beginning. Once buried the body has to survive the intense pressure as tonnes and tonnes of sediment falls on top. After the body is replaced by minerals it’s not over. There’s the rocks being moved: pushed deep down, or thrust above land. The remains could easily be destroyed…

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