and we will stay stuck in the Lias ε for a loooooong time! Simply because it is so choke-full of wonderful fossils, and because I have tons of photos of them.
The last post ended in the urweltmuseum fischer, so let me pick up the story there. When you enter the museum building you first go through the shop, then down the stairs into the basement (street side) / ground floor (quarry side). Above the stairs you can find these beauties (yay! vertebrates!):
casts only, sorry – but casts of what! The top one is a SMNS specimen, Meyerasaurus victor (previously Plesiosaurus, then Thaumatosaurus, Eurycleidus and finally Rhomaleosaurus victor). Yes, plesiosaurid taxonomy is almost as messed up as that of plateosaurid dinosaurs! This cast is much easier to photograph than the holotype in Stuttgart (but I will post my photo later), so I was glad to get this shot.
In case of the bottom one I am not only glad to have the photo, but in fact am glad this casts exists. The original doesn’t anymore. It was housed at the SMNS and bombed in 1945. Seeleyosaurus guilelmiimperatoris – there is a second skeleton at the SMNS, mounted in 3D, which I will show at a later time.
When you reach the bottom of the stair there are a bunch of large and small specimens on show (the latter behind glass) in a medium sized room, and there is a larger hall with lots of big stuff and a cool mural, a hall this post will not cover (yes, stringing you on….). One of these, an ichthyosaur (Eurhinosaurus longirostris) I posted before as a huge panorama shot. Another is a good-sized but not really spectacular Steneosaurus bollensis.
(for 5MB image click through)
more Steneosaurus here, with a small gratis ichthyosaur:
and then there are the spineless bastards out in force again:
Phylloceras sp., an ammonite. And you can immediately see that the lagerstätte Holzmaden has a very special taphonomy (as are all the other places where this typical version of the Lias ε crops out): what’s that golden colour? And why is the ammonite shell flat? And that black thing called an aptychus…. Note also the growth on the oldest part of the shell – loads of small shells….. I’ll retur to this topic one day, if you are impatient read a textbook.
Harpoceras lythense lineatum (that’s what it say on the sign, I can assure you H. is correct, but can’t say more). There is a white somewhat broken spiral running through the inner coils. That’s in fact the siphon, a narrow duct connecting the many chambers. Obvious soft tissue preservation right here…..
and then there are non-coiled mollusks, too:
Passalotheutis bisulcata, a belemnite. Compare to the less atypical (even if not really typical) preservation in the Lias δ in the first photo of this post!
OK, by now it is clear that the Lias ε sea in SW Germany was a special place, with a diverse fauna and unique taphonomy. I’ll discuss this more in future posts, for now just have some fish!