Museum Quality Palaeochiropteryx Messel Fossil Bat

Exceptional Soft Tissue Preservation

Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon

Class Mammalia, Order Chiroptera, Suborder Microchiroptera, Family Archaeonycterididae

Geological Time: Middle Eocene

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Bat fossil is 48 mm wide, 50 mm in length on a 95 mm by 108 mm resin matrix

Fossil Site: Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany

Code: GF117

Price: Sold

Description: This is a fine example of a small species of bat from the oil shale Messel Pit deposits of Darmstadt, Germany, known as Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon. These ~50 million year old deposits are famous for their exceptionally well-preserved organisms, some of which have the remains of their last meal preserved within. Soft tissue preservation is a common event in material from the pit, and that is easily seen here in preservation of wing tissue, and the ouitline of the head, including the ears!. The general darkened outline most likely represents some of this soft tissue preservation, but some striated material can be seen draped over the limb bones in several photos. This genus possessed relatively broad, short wings, indicative of adaptation for slow, highly maneuverable flight near the forest floor. While some features such as the skull and skeleton are primitive, the shape of the wings resembles that of the modern-day Hipposiderids which have a similar flight habit. Many of the limb bones are in articulation. This bat probably was overcome by toxic gases from the lake while in low-level pursuit of flying insects. Due to this fragility of the oil shale, this specimen, like all from the locality, has been embedded in resin to allow preparation. The fossil is then flipped over and the matrix removed on the opposite side. A final coating of resin serves to preserve the specimen as seen here. This fine example is the result of the individual who developed this technique in the 1970s. His work is world-renowned, with many specimens prepared by him on display in Frankfurt’s Senckenberg Museum. In the past decade prices for quality specimens has skyrocketed. Due to the fact that Messel is now a World Heritage Site, only material such as this from an old collection will be available.

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