Fossil starfish from Solnhofen
161-145 million years old
These starfish belong to the Sinosura kelheim and lived in the late Jura some 161-145 million years ago in present-day Germany. The starfish lived in a lagoon that was regularly cut off from the sea. The high salt content in both the water and sediment ensured that deceased animals were well preserved and fossilised.
There are several limestone quarries in the Altmühltal valley in Germany. In the middle of this area lies the village of Solnhofen. From this village the limestone from the area has taken its name. In reality, there are dozens of kilometres of limestone quarries. The chance to find fossils here yourself is not even very big. However, there are regular finds from the area due to the large scale of industrial extraction of limestone. This is mainly used for house building, sculpture or as decorative stone.