THE SOLNHOFEN LIMESTONE (Illustration) Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Archeological Wonders Famous Historical Events Geography Social Studies STEM Film

This image depicts the Solnhofen Limestones quarry—at Maxberg, Solnhofen, Germany—as it appeared on August 23, 1990. Solnhofen limestone frequently contains fossilized remains from the Jurassic Period. Photo by PePeEfe (Pasado Presente Futuro); online via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 4.0


Bavaria, a state in the southern part of Germany, is known for its incredible scenery. Solnhofen, a Bavarian town not far from the Danube River, is world-famous for its limestone deposits.

Since the Stone Age people in the area have used the material (called Plattenkalk by Germans today) for roof and floor tiles. But the Bavarian limestone is not merely good building material. It is the source of some of the most incredible fossils from Jurassic times.

Remarkably preserved, a jellyfish, a "sea lily" (which is a type of echinoderm), a dragonfly (with a 15-cm wingspan) and a very large beetle are clearly visible in slabs of Solnhofen Limestone.

Alligatorellus, a small crocodile, once lived in these parts. So did crustaceans and birds. This link (to the University of California at Berkeley’s web site) depicts what some scientists believe is a bird - Archaeopteryx lithographica - possessing reptilian features. It is one of the most important fossils ever found.

A similar fossil (called Archaeopteryx - Berlin specimen) was found sixteen years later (in 1877) in the same type of Solnhofen limestone.

Jurassic-age fossils provide paleontologists with scientific evidence. But that evidence points to a significant misconception: Dinosaurs popularly associated with the Jurassic age (T-Rex, Triceratops, Velociraptors, and Pteranodons) actually lived much later.

What scientific evidence do we have about them?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Apr 17, 2018

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"THE SOLNHOFEN LIMESTONE" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2000. Jan 29, 2020.
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