Lebanese Lagerstätte Fossils

Fossil Sites

Fossils of the Cretaceous Sublithographic limestone deposits in Lebanon

A World-Class Lagerstätte

Also see: Lagerstätte Definition; The World's Primary Lagerstätten Fossil Sites


While far less famous than other fossil sites exhibiting exquisite preservation, the sublithographic limestone deposits near Sahel Alma, Hajoula and Haqel, Lebanon have emerged to be recognized as truly world class. The strata date to the Cenomanian Stage of the Middle Cretaceous, some 93-97 million years ago. While best known for magnificant fish fossils, the site yield a wide diversity of other marine life, particularly invertebrates such as shrimp and lobsters. The deposits were made when the region was made up of warm and shallow seas with small basins. 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 Paleoctopus newboldi Octopus Fossilsystems. 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 yield fossils of roughly equivalent details of preservation, though the better Solnhofen fossils are largely played out, and now only found in old collections.

Octopus fossils are found in the Lebanese Lagerstätte, and are greatly prized because these soft bodied animals (except for beak and vestigal shells in some species), are rarely preserved in any fossil site. Some plants are are found as fossils, though they are rare. Among the three distinct fossil localities, there is some overlap of fish genera, but many genera are locally unique. The sites were first noted in the scientific literature. In 2001, a pterosaur was described from the Hâqel site.

Lebanese Lagerstatte Fossils Gallery

Rhinobatos hakelensis Guitar Fish Fossil
Antedon pinnulata Crinoid Fossils
Geocoma libanotica Brittle Star Fossil
Paratriakis curtirostris Fossil Shark
Exocoetoides minor Flying Fish Fossil
Annelida Worm Fossil
Aipichthys velifer Fish Fossil
Eurypholis boissieri Viper Fish Fossil
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
Belonostomus Needle Fish Fossil
Ctenothrissa fossil fish
Paleoctopus newboldi Octopus Fossil
Belonostomus Fish Fossil
(needle fish) Family Aspidorynchidae
Ctenothrissa sp.
Family Ctenothrissidae
Styletoctopus annae Octopus Fossil
Nematonotus longispinus
Order Aulopiformes
Scyllaridae Slipper Lobster
Order Malacostraca
Styletoctopus annae Octopus Fossil
Order Octopoda, Octopodidae