Prehistoric Horse 2.0 – Icon from Messel

The original skeleton of the prehistoric horse in front of Przewalski’s horse and Icelandic horse. © Sabine Heine


From March 4 to August 28, 2022, the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn, presents the special exhibition “Urpferd 2.0 – Ikone aus Messel” (“Prehistoric Horse 2.0 – Icon from Messel”). The highlight is the original fossil of a 48-million-year-old prehistoric horse. In close cooperation with Prof. Dr. Dr. Martin S. Fischer from the University of Jena, the Hamburg illustrators Amir Andikfar and Jonas Lauströer have virtually reconstructed the prehistoric horse in its original form and even made it walk.

The exhibition “Urpferd 2.0” uses high-resolution computer tomographies and 3D animations to play through various possibilities of what the prehistoric horse might have looked like. At the same time, visitors gain insights into the science of paleontology: the recovery of a find, the preparation of fossils and the animation of a prehistoric horse skeleton.

In 2015, a complete specimen of the prehistoric horse fossil Propalaeotherium voigti was found for the first time in the Messel Pit by the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt. This find was examined, reconstructed and animated using the latest digital techniques.

The Messel Pit is located northeast of Darmstadt. There was a crater lake in an active volcanic area here in the Eocene, about 47 million years ago. The special conditions of this lake meant that dead animals on the bottom were very well preserved. In the course of millions of years, the mud of the bottom became oil shale, which harbors extremely detailed fossils. For this reason, the Messel Pit was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1995.

The exhibition is shown during the usual opening hours. There is no separate entrance fee.

The special exhibition “Urpferd 2.0” is on loan from the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt.


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