Lebanese Fossils
Fossil Sites
 
Fossils of the Cretaceous Sublithographic limestone deposits in Lebanon



 

Cyclobatis fossil rayLagerstatt is a German word meaning "resting place". It has been recently co-opted by paleontologists to have a meaning more like "universal graveyard". A largerstatt is a spectacular rarity, with only a few dozen scattered about the earth. Another is Solnhofen, famous for its primitive bird Archaeopteryx, where much the life of the Jurassic at that time is preserved in its lithographic limestone. Another lagerstatt preserving the Eocene of Germany is Messel, in which a diversity of life forms has been preserved in an oil shale. Another geologically more recent deposit is the tar pits of Rancho La Brea in Los Angeles, showing us what life was like in the Pleistocene, a mere 10,000 years ago. Oil shale deposits in Wyoming show the wide variety of Fish of the Green River Eocene. The Burgess Shale deposits of Canada show us what life was like at the beginning of an explosive radiation of diversity over a half billion years ago. The one that has been most in the news of late are the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous deposits of Liaoning Province in China, home of the fantastic "feathered dinosaurs".

Taking its rightful place with all of these is the sublithographic limestone deposits of Sahel Alma, Hajoula and Haqel, Lebanon of the Cenomanian Stage of the Middle Cretaceous (93-97 million years ago). These deposits are most famous for their exquisitely-preserved fish, but also yield a diversity of other well-preserved fossils, particularly invertebrates such as shrimp and lobsters. The deposits are indicative of a warm and shallow sea that was made up of small basins only a few hundred meters across. These deposits now rest some 270 meters below the current surface. Geologists now believe these basins had their origins at the intersection of block fault systems. The Baensch Fossil Atlas lists over 70 genera of fish found within these deposits, most all of which are known from unparalleled-quality specimens preserved in remarkable detail. While younger than Solhnofen, the Lebanese sublithographic limestone yileds fossils of equivalent preservation.

Lebanese Lagerstatt Fossils Gallery
Exocoetoides minor Flying Fish Fossil
Order Aulopiformes, Family Chirothricidae
Annelida; incertae sedis
Class Polychaeta (?)
Aipichthys velifer Fish Fossil
Order Beryciformes; Family Dinopterigidae
Eurypholis boissieri (viper fish) with two eaten fish
Ctenothrissa fossil fish
Belonostomus (needle fish) Family Aspidorynchidae
Ctenothrissa sp.
Family Ctenothrissidae
Nematonotus
Nematonotus longispinus
Cretaceous
Order Aulopiformes
Scyllaridae Slipper Lobster
Cretaceous
Order Malacostraca
Also see:
Another Lebanese Fossils Gallery