PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, 11(1) (2014)
Perhaps the greatest treasures in paleontology are not individual skeletons of spectacular dinosaurs, but the incredible treasure troves of fossils from the famous “Mother Lode” deposits of fossils known as Lagerstätten. There are about a dozen or so such famous localities around the world, where the fossils have undergone extraordinary preservation. Most preserve the animals in complete articulated state, undisturbed by scavengers and currents, and some even preserve original soft tissue and original colors. These incredible accumulations of fossils tell us so much more than an individual skeleton, because they preserve entire organisms virtually intact, often exhibiting different kinds of behaviors (such as the fish swallowing other fish found in the Green River shales, subject of this book). In addition, they give a nearly unbiased cross-section of nearly all the life in a region at a given time, not filtered by how much hard tissue the organism had that might enhance its chances of preservation. Bit by bit, color-illustrated books of many of these legendary localities, such as the Burgess Shale, the Solnhofen Limestone, and the Messel localities, have been published. […]


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