Ammonites from Epidaurus, Greece

August 15, 2007


Provided by: Chris Kotsiopoulos, Hellenic Amateur Astronomy Association
Summary author: Chris Kotsiopoulos

The photo above was taken from Ligourio, Greece, at the local Natural History Museum. Ligourio is a small village near the ancient theatre of Epidaurus in Peloponnisos, Greece. It displays a unique fauna of fossilized ammonites that lived about 240 million years ago. Ammonites are index fossils. This means that we can determine the age of rocks based on the species of the ammonites found. The black crust covering the fossils indicates that at one time the sea where they were found was very deep.

In Epidaurus, fossils are literally packed together. As a consequence of the tremendous sea depths, most of the sediment dissolved before it could reach and cover the ammonite shells at the bottom. This resulted in fossil clustering from slightly different geological periods. Because the boundaries between epochs and periods aren't exactly clear, it's difficult for scientists who are trying to piece together species evolution and geological history. On the other hand, such a find is excellent for a museum display. The credit for the preparation of the specific specimen goes to Basilis Kotsiomitis, an inspired man who created this truly beautiful museum.

This photo is dedicated to my lovely wife, Tery.

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