Messel Research & Mammalogy


In the section Palaeoherpetology, established in 2011, we are chiefly concerned with lower vertebrates, particularly lizards and snakes.

Our research concerns the mutual relations between evolution and climate change: how different clades respond to warming or cooling, for example, and conversely how we can reconstruct ancient climates using the species composition of fossil assemblages. We combine detailed morphological, taxonomic, and phylogenetic studies of extinct species with quantitative modeling across episodes of significant climate change. Geographically we focus on the Messel Pit as well as North America, including the tropics, during the Paleogene. Furthermore, we use lower vertebrates to help understand the environmental context and ecology of early humans. We are continually expanding our osteological comparative collection as well as a collection of reptile eggshells.