Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Messel Research and Mammalogy

Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt / Main
Messel Research Station 

The Department of Messel Research and Mammalogy was founded in 2017 (departmental head: Dr. S. Schaal). This merger structurally links common research interests and results in a more efficient use of existing resources for research.

The fields of scientific activity comprise five areas of expertise, to which individual research projects are assigned:

  • Messel Research: Study of the Eocene lakes in the vicinity of the village of Messel and their biotic and abiotic configuration. Analysis of the fossil fauna from Messel, especially reptiles and insects. Comparative analysis of other Eocene localities worldwide. Inferences on biodiversity, paleoecology, and climate.
  • Radiography of Vertebrates: Reconstruction and functional morphology of the vertebrates (e.g., Messel tetrapods, skull and jaw reconstructions of early hominids) by means of advanced 3D X-ray technology (e.g., micro-X-radiography, microtomography). Functional morphology and development of models for the biomechanics of mammal reconstructions with consideration of both internal and external features.
  • Ecology and Phylogeny of Mammals: Actualistic studies on functional morphology and faunal associations in Recent habitats, reconstruction of fossil faunal communities and paleoecology.

Permanent scientific positions (Senckenberg) of the newly established department:

Departmental Leadership and Messel Research: Dr. Stephan Schaal
Vertebrate Radiography and Paleobiology: N.N.
Palaeoentomology: Dr. Sonja Wedmann
Palaeoherpetology: Dr. Krister T. Smith
Palaeomammalogy: Dr. Thomas Lehmann
Mammalogy: PD.Dr. Irina Ruf