Located near Frankfurt, Germany, the oil shales of Messel are known around the world as the site of one of the most magnificent collections of preserved paleontological remains in existence. Rivalling and in some respects surpassing the famed La Brea Tar Pits, the Messel site contains in an
exceptional state of preservation the abundant remains of animals and plants that lived some 50 million years ago. Not only are the skeletons and other hard parts preserved in detail, but also the soft tissues that are normally lost in the process of fossilization: the skin, scales, feathers, fur
and hair that give a rare life-like appearance to the remains. Among the animals found here, virtually intact, are insects, lizards, birds, bats, horses, and primates. The fossil plant remains include ferns, conifers, and palms–complete with the fine detail of leaves and structure that make these
specimens so remarkable. This book offers a spectacular chronicle of the Messel site–in lavish full-color photographs and expert textual descriptions that describe the biogeographical significance of the findings. The book will be of value not only to palaeontologists but also to zoologists and
botanists, and indeed to all who are interested in the ancient history of life on Earth.