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Messel Pit Fossil Site

The Messel Pit near Darmstadt was the first German natural monument to be accepted by UNESCO on the World Heritage List in December 1995. This fossil bed provides a unique insight into the earliest stages of the evolution of mammals. It documents the history of the earth’s development 49 million years ago, as the extinction of the dinosaurs brought radical transformations in the animal and plant worlds.

Small primeval horse
© S. Tränker / A. Hebs, FIS

The oil shale conceals fossils that cover the entire spectrum of living beings in the Eocene period (57 to 36 million years BC), with a diversity and quality that has yet to be equalled by any other site.





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