- Opole County
- Nature of the County
- Documentation stands
Documentation stands are important spots of occurrence of non-typical geological formations, accumulation of fossils or mineral formations, caves, alluvial deposits, headings and underground headings.
In the area of Opole County there is one documentation stand in Krasiejów – Commune of Ozimek, aimed at preservation of geological opencast of a total area of 0,2 ha. This is the site of the biggest paleontological excavations in Poland. In two lower seams, within upper Triassic period rock formations a mass accumulation of large fragments of freshwater and terrestrial vertebrates skeletons were found. Those skeletal remains are dated from 230 million years ago. Excavations became known worldwide, due to the discovery of numerous remains of pradinosaur, named as Salamander from vicinity of Opole “Silesiarus Opolensis”. Excavations were made by the team set up by professor Jerzy Dzik. There are also remains of amphibians - order of labirynthodonts and reptiles – order of tecodonthia. Tuataras, fish, invertebrates and plants fossils were also found at the excavation site. Most of the skeletons found in Krasiejów are complete or almost complete. This fact made it possible to open two museums. One in Krasiejów – located in the building of old school, the second one in the bone excavation site. The latter one exposes the intact grounds with preserved bones and fragments of bones. Main exposition of Krasiejowice findings is presented in the Museum of Evolution in Warsaw.
The most interesting finding in Krasiejowice is the skeleton of “great ancestor" of European herbivores dinosaurs – SILESARIUS OPOLENSIS, i.e. SALAMANDER FROM VICINITY OF OPOLE. The animal was of circa 170 cm length. Walked on four limbs, two front limbs were slightly longer. Anatomic features place Silesaurus on the top of dinosaur genealogical family tree. Abundant bone material of pradinosaur enabled conduction of full reconstruction of the skeleton, and later on – the probable looks of the animal. Another worth mentioning specimen is aetosaurus. Accumulation and versatility of bone material was the basis to make an assumption that remains found in Krasiejowice belong to the oldest representative of this specimen in the world.
Aetosaurus were reptiles, living in the land and feeding on plants. They were of three meter length. Their body was covered in bone armour. Disproportionate small head, compared to the rest of the body made them look a bit funny. Findings in Krasiejowice are also of additional value.
Between rock strata the time has “stopped”, that is why it was possible to reconstruct Triassic period water and continental landscapes.
Area of contemporary Krasiejowice and its vicinities were covered with swamps. The whole area was surrounded by a huge lake – covering the area of Polish and German plains. There were green algae, tiny crustaceans ostracoda and pollyphoda Triassic period “crabs” and also sweet water clams living in it its waters. Above them, there were ganoid fish with characteristic shiny thin scales, massive jaw dipnoi fish, which were the basic food for huge (over 2 meters) reptiles - metoposaurus and smaller phitosaurus. Those huge reptiles were living both in water and land environment. Banks of Triassic period lake were covered with huge horsetails and ferns, zamia similar to palm trees and forefather of ginkgo. This was the natural habitat of herbivores pradinosaurs and Aetosaurus. The latter ones, just like nowadays pigs were burrowing ground in search for food. Rauisuchia – predator reptiles, with powerful jaws, were the worst enemies of herbivorous reptiles. Thickets surrounding the lake were inhabited by Cyclotosaurus, which might be compared with nowadays crocodile.
There are thousands of intact skeletons in Krasiejowice deposits. Those deposits, rich in skulls, skeletons and fragments of plants are the biggest research deposits in Europe, representing Triassic period of our planet. Few years ago, in Krasiejów silt mine, bones of reptiles that have lived 230 million years ago were found.