Who lived together with Ida?

Today, the disused oil-shale quarry in Messel is a treasure trove for researchers and fossil collectors. Many other animals suffered a similar fate as Ida did, and like her they were preserved under the beneficial conditions at the bottom of the lake. A 47 million years old ecosystem is almost completely preserved.

Many of the fossils are nearly or as well preserved as Ida. In the fossils pictured below we can see, in addition to the skeleton, outlines of what was once soft tissues such as fur, feathers and stomach contents.

Small mammals

Macrocranion tupaiodon
This small mammal had long hind legs, and may have run like a hare – although it is more closely related to the hedgehog.
Snakes

underkropp av Europolemur koenigswaldi
This snake could reach two meters in length, and probably lived more in the water than on land.
Bats

Fossil av flaggermus fra Messel
All the bats in Messel were insectivores, as is shown by their small pointy teeth (upper right).
Birds

Fossil av fugl fra Messel
Sickle-shaped claws on the legs of this bird indicates that it lived in the trees, using the claws to grab hold of branches.

Published June 23, 2010 1:02 PM - Last modified Jan. 13, 2015 4:14 PM