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Incredible Fossil of an Ancient Horse Still Contains Its Unborn Foal


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Dec 3, 2017
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Paleontologists in Germany have identified the fossilized remains of a horse-like animal that dates back 48 million years. Remarkably, the fossil still contains its unborn foal and traces of soft tissue—leading scientists to call it the earliest and best-preserved specimen of its kind.

The Darmstadt region in Germany is renowned for its complete animal skeletons, many of which date back to the early Middle Eocene. This ancient era lasted for 8 million years, ending some 47 million years ago. During the Eocene, a number of modern mammals emerged, including equine creatures that would eventually branch off to become horses. Back in 2000, paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of one such animal, Eurohippus messelensi, a horse-like creature that stood no taller than a medium-sized dog.
The so-called Messel Eocene deposits contain a high percentage of hydrocarbons, providing nearly anaerobic conditions in which fossilized animals were trapped & were preserved in amazing detail. In this case this primitive horse ancestor contained the complete remains of an unborn fetus.

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