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Lagerstätte is a well-bedded sequence of limestone layers containing an extremely well-preserved assemblage of fossils. Paleontologists distinguish two kinds:

Konzentrat-Lagerstätten (concentration Lagerstätten) are deposits with a particular concentration of disarticulated organic hard parts, such as a bone bed. These Lagerstätten are less spectacular than the more famous Konservat-Lagerstätten. Their contents invariably display a large degree of time averaging, as the accumulation of bones in the absence of other sediment takes some time. Deposits with a high concentration of fossils that represent an in-situ community, such as reefs or oyster beds, are not considered Lagerstätten.

Konservat-Lagerstätten (conservation Lagerstätten) are deposits known for the exceptional preservation of fossilized organisms, where the soft parts are preserved in the form of impressions or casts. This is caused by incompleteness of biological recycling, for example where anoxic conditions, as in oxygen-free mud, has suppressed common bacterial decomposition long enough for the initial casts of soft body parts to register. The individual taphonomy of the fossils varies with the sites. Conservation Lagerstätten are crucial in providing answers to important moments in the history and evolution of life, for example the Burgess Shale of British Columbia is associated with the Cambrian explosion, and the Solnhofen limestone with the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx.

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