Name: The Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone
Location: Bavaria, Germany
Age: Tithonian, Late Jurassic

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Fauna and Flora of the
Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone

  1. Fauna
  2. Flora
  3. Trace Fossils
  4. Faunal and Floral List
  5. Image Gallery
  6. Return to Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone home


There are over 600 fossil species known from the Solnhofen Limestone, from cnidarians (jellyfish), such as Rhizostomites, commatulid crinoids (sea lilies) like Saccocoma , and horseshoe crabs such as Mesolimulus to the many types of fish, such as Caturus, Hypsocormus and Lepidotes. There are also squid, including Leptoteuthis, corals, like Calamophylla, ammonites (e.g. Aspidoceras), some complete with aptychi (jaw parts) and organic sponges (e.g. Phyllothallus), bivalves (e.g. Eopecten), brachiopods (e.g. Juraura) and gastropods (e.g. Tylostoma). Vertebrates include the rare ichthyosaur Nannopterygius, marine crocodiles, such as Steneosaurus and Dakosaurus, leptosaurs, such as Pleurosaurus, and the odd turtle (e.g. Eurysternum). There is also a primitive chordate Eucinites, an example of which is on display in the Maxberg museum, Solnhofen, with the notochord visible.

There are terrestrial organisms, including the pterosaurs Pterodactylus and Rhamphorynchus, the dinosaur Compsognathus and the earliest bird, Archaeopteryx, as well as insects, such as the water skater Chresmoda and the dragonfly Aeschnogomphus.


There are some plants, Podozamites, Brachyphylum and the conifer Palaeocyrus, although these are fairly uncommon. There is also the algal film, which is sometimes preserved wrapped around fish that have fallen through and dragged it to the seabed.

Trace Fossils:

There are some invertebrate traces, mostly from the arthropods, such as Mesolimulus and Mecocheirus, both featuring in trackways with the trace-maker at the end, which would suggest that these were capable of surviving in hypersaline water, if only for a short time. There were reports of pterosaur tracks, but these were eventually determined to be Mesolimulus traces. There are also some coprolites.

Image Gallery:

Please click on the thumbnails for a larger image

Leptoteuthis, a squid from the Maxberg museum, Solnhofen.

A hybodont shark spine, from the Maxberg Museum, Solnhofen

Ophiosamus, brittle stars, from the Jura-Museum, Eichstätt

Ophiosamus, brittle stars, from the Jura-Museum, Eichstätt

The Eichstätt Archaeopteryx, from the Jura-Museum, Eichstätt

Restoration of Archaeopteryx, from the Jura-Museum, Eichstätt

Coprolite from Eichstätt quarry

All pictures property of The DinoWight Collection

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