Fossil Pleurosaurus Skull - Solnhofen Limestone, Germany

This is a rare, 3.8" long skull of a Pleurosaurus from the Solnhofen Limestone in Germany. It is disarticulated but both of the jaws are present.

Pleurosaurus was an Upper Jurassic marine reptile approximately 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) long. It was elongated for hydrodynamic streamlining, with comparatively short limbs and a powerful tail. It would have been able to swim rapidly by undulating its slender body in a snake-like fashion. It had only small limbs, which probably did not aid in swimming, and nostrils placed far back on the head, close to the eyes.

An artists reconstruction of a Pleurosaurus. By Nobu Tamura

The Solnhofen limestone is a famous, Upper Jurassic Lagerstätte in Germany. It is where one of the most famous fossils of all time, Archaeopteryx was found. The fine grained limestone makes excellent building materials which has led to heavy quarrying over the past two centuries, which has resulted in some spectacular fossils being unearthed including fossil dragonflies, fish, pterosaurs, shrimp, horseshoe crabs, etc.

This area represented an archipelago at the edge of a sea. Due to high salt content, the lowest levels in the water column could not support much life and were largely devoid of oxygen. This lack of oxygen and scavengers on the bottom of the sea led to beautiful fossil preservation.

Hienheim, Germany
Solnhofen Limestone
3.8" long on 5.8 x 6" limestone
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