Sandelzhausen gravel pit (Miocene of Germany)

Also known as Sandelzhausen 1, Kiesgrube Bachmaier-Karber

Where: Bavaria, Germany (48.6° N, 11.8° E: paleocoordinates 48.9° N, 10.4° E)

• coordinate stated in text

• outcrop-level geographic resolution

When: OSM C mammal zone, Upper Freshwater Molasse Formation (Molasse Group), MN 5 (16.0 - 13.7 Ma)

• The fossiliferous bed, which has a mean thickness of about 2.5 m, belongs to the Upper Freshwater Molasse (OSM) informal formation. Its age assigment has slightly changed several times over the past decades. Currently it is regarded as belonging to the OSM unit C (i.e. sedimentary cycle OSM 3), corresponding to the lower part of the Middle Miocene. Studies on several mammal groups have revealed that the locality biochronologically now is unequivocally referrable to the deeper part of MN 5 and not, as earlier thought, to MN6. The absolute age of the locality is about 16 Ma (see Fahlbusch, 2003 and references therein).

•The fossiliferous bed itself is subdivided into 6 (sub)layers (A to F from base to top). However, in almost all cases no particular horizon is specified for a particular fossil or taxon in the paleontological literature.

• group of beds-level stratigraphic resolution

Environment/lithology: fluvial-lacustrine; shelly/skeletal, black, brown, gray, green, sandy, conglomeratic marl and unlithified, silty mudstone

• (Sub)bed A is interpreted as a gravel bed channel. (Sub)beds B to D (lower) may represent an alluvial plain in which, after seasonal floods, small, short-lived ponds existed under semiarid to semihumid conditions. (Sub)beds D (upper) and E are interpreted as permanent water body, a small lake or pond, under semihumid to humid conditions (Böhme, 2010).
• The base of the fossiliferous bed rests on a paleorelief of about 30 cm.

•The (sub)layers A to D are composed of greenish-gray to brownish-black, marly conglomerates ("Geröllmergel") with decrease in quantity and size of pebbles from max. 10 cm in the lower part to few mm in the upper part of the fossiliferous bed. (Sub)layer A is partially well cemented by carbonate minerals. The pebbles mainly consist of quartz but also of various crystalline rock and hornfels, and some are flattened limestone pebbles. (Sub)layer C contains a thin lignite lens which, together with its lateral equivalents, served as guide bed dividing the "Untere Geröllmergel" below from the "Obere Geröllmergel" above.

•The (sub)layers A to D are roughly distinguishable from one another throughout the whole gravel pit, however, on a smaller scale rapid (often within few meters) facies changes occur.

•(Sub)layer E is a montmorillonite-rich bed of silty clay.

•The (sub)layers A to E all contain fossils: predominantly vertebrates and gastropod shell debris. (Sub)layer F is devoid of fossils.

•(Sub)layer B partially is characterized by structures which indicate synsedimentary movements such as slumps, but it cannot be ruled out that they may result from bioturbation.

•Almost all (sub)horizons of the fossiliferous bed are characterized by the presence of light grey to yellowish-white limestone concretions of various shape and size. These are the result of different diagenetic phenomena (e.g. subrecent precipitation from descendent meteoric water or early diagenetic processes related to fossil formation) (all informations on geology are from Fahlbusch 2003 and Böhme, 2010).

Size classes: macrofossils, mesofossils

• Most body parts found are fragments, such as parts of longbones (mainly the epiphyses) or jaw fragments. More massively built elements such as bones of the carpus and tarsus and isolated teeth are more completely preserved. Complete longbones or jaws of mammals are less common and articulated partial or whole skeletons are practically absent.

Collected by BSPG in 1969-1975, 1994-2001; reposited in the BSP

Collection methods: bulk, surface (float), mechanical, acetic, sieve,

• The fossil locality was discovered in 1959 by Richard Dehm (director of the BSPG at the time). After getting positive results from samples taken in 1962 systematic excavations including screenwashing took place from 1969 to 1975 (several weeks per year). In 1994 a second excavation period started which ended in 2001. During both periods a total of 1500 m3 has been quarried, accompanied by 150 t of screenwashed sediment (Fahlbusch, 2003). It should be noted, that amount of screenwashed samples varies between the (sub)layers and cannot be reconstructed (Böhme, 2010).

•Almost all of the material is housed in the BSPG, bearing the catalogue signature BSPG 1959 II.

Primary reference: N. Schmidt-Kittler. 1972. Die obermiozäne Fossil-Lagerstätte Sandelzhausen. 6. Proboscidea (Mammalia). Mitteilungen der Bayerischen Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Histor. Geologie 12:83-95 [J. Hunter/M. Hall/T. Liebrecht]more details

Purpose of describing collection: taxonomic analysis

PaleoDB collection 34615: authorized by John Hunter, entered by Meg Hall on 12.09.2003, edited by Torsten Liebrecht, David Nicholson, Philip Mannion, Patricia Holroyd and Evangelos Vlachos

Creative Commons license: CC BY (attribution)

Taxonomic list

• Szyndlar (2009) lists 130 caudal vertebrae, 2 dentary fragments, and 1 unidentified dentigerous bone as Serpentes indet.

•Note: Occurence of Eumyarion bifidus reported by Heißig (1989) has been removed from the list due to duplicate (alternative combination of Cotimus bifidus). (TL)

 Anabantiformes - Channidae
Channa elliptica1 von Salis 1967 snakehead
68 vertebrae, 5 pharyngobranchial fragments, 1 premaxilla, 1 dentary fragment, >70 isolated teeth
 Gobiiformes - Gobiidae
Gobius sp.1 Linnaeus 1758 goby
1 premaxilla, 2 jaw elements
 Cypriniformes - Cyprinidae
Palaeoleuciscus "sp. A"1 Obrhelová 1969 carp-like fish
= P. sp. A sensu Böhme (2002, Beitr. Paläont. 27); 9 isolated pharyngeal teeth, 17 fragments of pharyngeal bone with attached teeth, 1 operculum fragment, 6 first vertebrae
Palaeocarassius "sp. A"1 Obrhelová 1970 carp-like fish
1659 isolated pharyngeal teeth, 1 pharyngeal bone, 13 serrated fin spines, 85 first vertebrae
 Temnospondyli - Albanerpetontidae
Albanerpeton inexpectatum1 Estes and Hoffstetter 1976 tetrapod
4 skull bones, 2 dentaries, 2 vertebrae
 Salientia - Pelobatidae
Pelobates fahlbuschi n. sp.1 Böhme 2010 spadefoot toad
>1026 skull bones/bone fragments, 1 prearticular, 22 ilia, 29 vertebra + 1 urostyle
Eopelobates sp.1 Parker 1929 spadefoot toad
7 skull bones, 3 ilia
 Salientia -
Latonia gigantea1 Lartet 1851 frog
42 maxillae and several other skull bones, 12 ilia and several further postcrania
 Salientia - Ranidae
Ranidae "indet. nov. gen. et sp."1 Rafinesque 1814 frog
1 maxilla fragment, 1 ilium, 9 terminal phalanges
Pelophylax sp.1 Fitzinger 1843 frog
28 ilia and many further postcrania
 Salientia - Bufonidae
Bufo sp.1 Laurenti 1768 toad
single left ilium fragment
Bufo cf. viridis1 Laurenti 1768 European green toad
1 braincase, 6 ilia, 3 sacral vertebrae + 1 urostyle
 Caudata - Urodela
Chelotriton sp.1 Pomel 1853 newt
11 skull bones/bone fragments, 6 dentaries, 26 vertebrae, several ribs
Triturus cf. marmoratus1 Latreille 1800 marbled newt
3 occipital bones, 198 vertebrae, several cranial and postcranial remains
Triturus cf. vulgaris1 Linnaeus 1758 smooth newt
285 vertebrae, several cranial and postcranial remains
Salamandra sansaniensis1 Lartet 1851 salamander
3 occipital bones, 92 vertebrae
 Testudines - Pantestudinidae
 Testudines - Pangeoemydidae
Clemmydopsis turnauensis7 Meyer 1847 turtle
"Ocadia sophiae" = Mauremys sophiae4 Ammon 1911 pond turtle
 Galliformes - Phasianidae
cf. Palaeortyx intermedia3 Ballman 1969 pheasant
 Crocodylia - Diplocynodontidae
"Diplocynodon styriacus" = Diplocynodon ungeri1, "Diplocynodon styriacus" = Diplocynodon ungeri1
"Diplocynodon styriacus" = Diplocynodon ungeri1 Prangner 1845 crocodilian
1 fragment of dentary ("Dentale-Fragment 1" BSPG 1959 II 417)
"Diplocynodon styriacus" = Diplocynodon ungeri1 Prangner 1845 crocodilian
2 fragmentary dentaries ("Dentale-Fragment 2" BSPG 1959 II 418, "Dentale-Fragment 3" BSPG 1959 II 419) and 96 isolated teeth (BSPG 1959 II 427 to 435)
 Squamata - Lacertidae
Lacerta "sp. 1"1 Linnaeus 1758 lizard
"Lacerta sensu lato", left dentary
Lacerta "sp. 2"1 Linnaeus 1758 lizard
"Lacerta sensu lato", 1 dentary + 7 fragments, 1 maxilla + 1 fragment
Lacerta "sp. 3"1 Linnaeus 1758 lizard
"Lacerta sensu lato", 1 dentary + 14 fragments + 2 jaw fragments, 1 maxilla + 3 fragments
cf. Miolacerta tenuis1 Roček 1984 lizard
2 dentary fragments
Edlartetia sansaniensis1 Augé and Rage 2000 lizard
1 dentary fragment
 Squamata - Anguidae
Anguidae "indet. sp. nov."1 Gray 1825 lizard
2 dentary fragments and 1 maxilla fragment
Pseudopus laurillardi1 Lartet 1851 legless lizard
5 skull bones, 4 dentaries/fragments, 7 vertebrae, 1 isolated tooth, several osteoderms
Ophisaurus sp.1 Daudin 1803 glass lizard
13 skull bones/bone fragments, 10 dentaries/fragments + 2 further jaw fragments, 4 vertebrae, several osteoderms
Ophisaurus "sp. I sensu Roček, 1984"1 Daudin 1803 glass lizard
4(?) dentary fragments, 6 maxilla fragments
cf. Ophisaurus cf. spinari1 Klembara 1979 glass lizard
"sensu Roček, 1984"; 3 maxilla fragments
 Squamata - Chamaeleonidae
Chamaeleo aff. caroliquarti1 Moody and Roček 1980 chameleon
5 skull bones/fragments
Chamaeleo bavaricus n. sp.6 Schleich 1983 chameleon
1 dentary fragment (=holotype, BSPG 1959 II 2066), 3 maxilla fragments (reported by Böhme, 2010)
 Squamata - Viperidae
Vipera sp.8 Laurenti 1768 viper
"Oriental viper" (contrastingly, Szyndlar & Rage, 2002, ref no. 43793, list the Vipera sp. from Sandelzhausen as a member of the "aspis complex"), 19 vertebrae and >50 isolated venom fangs
 Squamata - Aniliidae
Eoanilius sp.8 Rage 1974 pipe snake
10 trunk vertebrae
 Squamata - Colubridae
"Colubrinae" indet.8 Oppel 1811 colubrid snake
10 trunk vertebrae and 2 maxillary fragments, "tiny"
? Telescopus sp.8 Waner 1830 tiger snake
2 trunk vertebrae
"Coluber" sp.8 Linnaeus 1758 racer
65 trunk vertebrae + 1 maxillary fragment; the quotation marks are due to the fact that the author consciously uses the somewhat older concept of the genus (extant "colubrine" snakes by now assigned to the genera Hemorrhois, Hierophis, and Platyceps)
"Elapidae indet." = Elapinae8 Boié 1827 colubrid snake
6 trunk vertebrae
Naja sp.8 Laurenti 1768 cobra
6 trunk vertebrae
"Natricinae" indet.8 Bonaparte 1838 colubrid snake
50 trunk vertebrae
cf. Neonatrix sp.8 Holman 1973 colubrid snake
4 trunk vertebrae
Natrix sp.8 Laurenti 1768 water snake
32 trunk vertebrae
cf. Natrix sp.8 Laurenti 1768 water snake
4 trunk vertebrae, "large form"
 Squamata -
Scincomorpha indet.1 lizard
2 intermaxillae, 4 jaw fragments
 Squamata - Trogonophidae
Palaeoblanus "sp. nov."1 Schleich 1988 worm lizard
1 intermaxilla, 1 posterior dentary fragment
 Squamata - Scincidae
Scincidae "indet. 1"1 Gray 1825 skink
2 dentary fragments
Scincidae "indet. 2"1 Gray 1825 skink
2 dentary fragments
Tropidophorus bavaricus n. sp.1 Böhme 2010 skink
1 dentary with 12 tooth positions (= holotype, BSPG 1959 II 16395), 3 dentary fragments
 Squamata - Cordylidae
Cordylidae indet.1 Gray 1837 spinytail lizard
2 jaw fragments
Bavaricordylus cf. molassicus1 Böhme 2010 spinytail lizard
2 maxillary fragments, 2 dentary fragments, 2 isolated dentary teeth
 Rodentia - Cricetidae
"Cotimus bifidus n. sp." = Eumyarion bifidus2 Fahlbusch 1964 mouse
21 teeth
Democricetodon aff. schaubi2 mouse
n. sp., 15 teeth
Democricetodon affinis2 Schaub 1925 mouse
n.ssp. mutilus, 40 teeth
Democricetodon minor2 Lartet 1851 mouse
n.ssp. gracilis, 15 teeth
 Lipotyphla - Talpidae
Myxomygale hutchisoni5 Ziegler 1985 mole
 Proboscidea - Gomphotheriidae
Gomphotherium angustidens Burmeister 1837 gomphothere
subspecies G. a. subtapiroides
 Proboscidea - Mammutidae
Zygolophodon turicensis Schintz 1824 mastodon