The team from the Senckenberg Institute at work in the Messel pit. By 1971, the open pit oil shale mine had already dredged 55 meters. However, more than 90 meters remain in the center of the pit.
Image: Tim Wegner/Laif
World-famous large fossils have been found in the petrified mud of a former lake in southern Hesse. But even those for which you need a magnifying glass sometimes have it all. A dig visit.
SDo you see it?” No, the visitor sees nothing. Sonja Wedmann put a magnifying glass in his hand along with the piece of slate, a small one with a hinged metal frame like jewelers use. The slate feels greasy and is black-grey in colour, but when viewed from above the cleavage surface appears to be structureless, and even a magnifying glass does not seem to change that. “If you get the distance right, you see these orange anthers,” says Wedmann.
The head of the Messel branch of the Senckenberg Institute and expert on prehistoric insects must really have eagle eyes, thinks the visitor. But then it turns out that he is standing in the sun himself. When held up to the right light, the tiny structure in the stone suddenly lights up. Then around it also shows something brown and a tiny stalk. A bloom.