Posidonia Shale

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Posidonia Shale
Stratigraphic range: Toarcian
Posidonia Shale at Hesselberg
Type Geological formation
Unit of Altena Group (Netherlands)
Underlies Jurensismergel Formation (Germany)
Werkendam Formation (Netherlands)
Overlies Amaltheenton Formation (Germany)
Aalburg Formation (Netherlands)
Primary Shale
Region Northwest German Basin, Southwest German Basin
Country  Germany
Type section
Named for Posidonia bronni
Lithostratigraphie süddeutscher Jura.svg
Lithostratigraphy of the Posidonia Shale in Germany

The Posidonia Shale is a Early Jurassic geological formation of south-western Germany, including exceptionally well-preserved complete skeletons of fossil marine fish and reptiles.[1] The Posidonienschiefer, as German paleontologists call it, takes its name from the ubiquitous fossils of Posidonia bronni that characterize its fauna. The formation comprises finely laminated layers of oil shales formed of fine-grained sediments intercalated with bituminous limestones and crops out in a number of locations in southwestern Germany, although most remains are from near the village of Holzmaden.[1] The European oil shales deposited on a sea floor during the Early Toarcian in the ancient Tethys Ocean are described as being deposited in an anoxic, or oxygen depleted, deep water environment, although the details of the depositional environment are the subject of debate by researchers of the formation.[1]

In addition to their Posidonia bronni, the shales contain some spectacularly detailed fossils of other Jurassic sea creatures—ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, spiral-shelled ammonites and crinoids, or sea-lilies.[2]



Ichthyosaurs of the Posidonia Shale
Taxa Presence Notes Images



Plesiosaurs of the Posidonia Shale
Taxa Presence Notes Images


  1. Meyerasaurus victor[3]
  1. Found near the town of Holzmaden (Baden-Württemberg), Germany.[3]


Pterosaurs of the Posidonia Shale
Taxa Presence Notes Images


  1. C. liasicus[4]
  2. C. zitteli[4]
  1. Found near the town of Holzmaden (Baden-Württemberg), Germany.[4]
  2. Found near the town of Holzmaden (Baden-Württemberg), Germany.[4]


  1. D. banthensis[4]
  1. Found near Banz Abbey in Bavaria, as well as Holzmaden (Baden-Württemberg),[4]


  1. ^ a b c Bottjer, Etter, Hagadorn, Tang, editors (2001). Exceptional Fossil Preservation. Columbia University Press. 
  2. ^ David Quammen, The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder 2000:41.
  3. ^ a b c Adam S. Smith, Peggy Vincent (2010). "A new genus of pliosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Lower Jurassic of Holzmaden, Germany". Palaeontology. 53 (5): 1049–1063. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00975.x. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Wellnhofer, Peter (1991). "Summary of Lower Jurassic Pterosaurs." The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs. London, UK: Salamander Books Limited. p. 79. ISBN 0-86101-566-5.

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