The Bromacker Fossil Site
Coordinates: 50° 48′ 35.04“ N, 10° 37′ 8.96“ E
You can also watch a documentary about the fossil dig at the Bromacker site made by Salve-TV, Weimar.
The fossil site at the Bromacker between Georgenthal and Tambach-Dietharz is unique in Europe. The first track slabs were found here around 120 years ago. After that, the Bromacker quarries quickly became one of the most significant localities for Permian tetrapod tracks in the world. However, the real sensation was unearthed in 1974 when Dr. Thomas MARTENS who had been carrying out a geological survey chanced upon several bones in the siltstones overlying the sandstone. These bones were the first piece of evidence of the "makers" of the Tambach tracks.
Since 1978, Dr. Thomas MARTENS (www.ursaurier.de) has been leading annual excavations. As of 1993 the team also includes US palaeontologists. More than 40 skeletons, belonging to at least 13 different species have been discovered to date. Most of these are first discoveries on a global scale. These are early terrestrial vertebrates that often unite amphibian, reptilian and mammalian features. One can group these animals together under the name "terapods".
The fauna is closely linked to the Lower Permian in North America. Species such as Seymouria sanjuanensis are also found in the Cutler-Formation of New Mexico (USA). This link clearly verifies the presence of land bridges between the Permian continents and therefore proves the existence of the supercontinent Pangaea.
However, the outstanding significance of this fossil site is that it represents a purely terrestrial ecosystem in a high plateau environment. This facies has not produced any important fossil sites especially in Europe. Usually the Permian vertebrate fossil sites represent lowland aquatic environments (lake sediments).
Today, after about 3 decades of research, the "Bromacker-Horizon“ is the best studied Lower Permian layer in the world in terms of sedimentology and palaeontology. The findings obtained here go far beyond vertebrate palaeontology. Most specimens can be seen at the Museum der Natur in Gotha.
The Saurien Discovery Trail (GeoRoute 6)
The Saurian Discovery Trail was created for the visitors of the Bromacker tetrapod fossil site. The route links Georgenthal and Tambach-Dietharz to the fossil site. The grand opening of the trail took place on September 18, 2011 on Geotope Day. The route between Bromacker and Tambach-Dietharz was opened in May 2, 2017.
Links for more information about the geotope Bromacker
for more about the scientific (palaeontological) excavation at the Bromacker site:
more links about the Bromacker in the media (small selection, status 2010):
- 12.08.2010 Ursaurier-Skelett auf Bromacker bei Gotha gefunden. – Thüringer Allgemeine mit Fotostrecke
- 12.08.2010 300 Millionen Jahre alt. Ursaurier-Skelett in Thüringen entdeckt. – Spiegel online mit Fotostrecke
- 12.08.2010 Financial Times Deutschland: 300 Millionen Jahre altes Ursaurier-Skelett entdeckt
- 12.08.2010 OTZ: Ursaurier-Skelett entdeckt
- 12.08.2010 mdr2: Erneut Reste eines Ursauriers gefunden
- 12.08.2010 TLZ: Ursaurier-Skelett entdeckt
- 12.08.2010 Die Zeit-online: 300 Millionen Jahre altes Ursaurier-Skelett entdeckt
- 26.07.2010 mdr: Wissenschaftler in Gotha auf Sauriersuche
- 21.07.2009 Sprechende Skelette. Vortrag zum Thema „Was Ursaurier erzählen“ – Südthüringer Zeitung
- 29.07.2007 Focus: Neues Ursaurier-Skelett entdeckt
- 30.07.2007 Die Welt-online: Neuer Ursaurier in Thüringen entdeckt
- 18.07.2006 netzeitung.de: Drei Saurier-Fossilien in Thüringen gefunden.