The “Munier-Chalmas et De Lapparent” fossil room (english version)

Sala principale del Museo Paleontologico di Priabona
Posted 30 Dicembre 2011   Approfondimenti, Buso della Rana, Museo, Priaboniano

This room contains an important collection of fossils found in and around Priabona and Monte di Malo. Geologically speaking, the area is very important, having given its name to the Priabonian stratotype. Illustrative panels and other teaching-scientific material take the visitor on a journey of discovery through the enormous changes undergone by the territory during the geological eras of the period between 65 million and 10 million years ago: from Cretaceous to Miocene. The Priabonian Study Centre (CSP) is able to provide guided tours to the museum and to a number of nature trails in the surrounding area.

The Priabonian “Fossil Room” was set up in 1989-1990 in anticipation of the centenary of institution of the Priabonian stratotype by Ernest Munier-Chalmas and Albert De Lapparent. The two geologists from Paris recognised that, in the village of Priabona, the upper Eocene strata were particularly developed and of extraordinary interest. The stratotype represents the rocky succession of reference for Europe and for the Mediterranean in particular, for the time interval corresponding to the upper Eocene (between 40 and 36 million years ago). The Fossil Room was set up by the local Priabonian Study Centre, under the direction and encouragement of Renato Gasparella, and with a financial contribution from Monte di Malo municipality. The group in charge of the fossil room obtained the fossil on show from private collections and from excavations for building materials. The extraordinary wealth of exhibits found in the area attracted the attention of experts right from the start.
Visitors will also be interested in the well-studied local caves, such as the “Buso della Rana”, as classical examples of the karst phenomenon in Italy.
The display contains annotated photographs showing some particularly striking geological phenomena such as tertiary volcanism and karst.
This is followed by some especially interesting fossil exhibits, a 3D model representing the local stratigraphy and exceptional macro-photos of fossil corals. Next, there is reconstruction of the environment during the Priabonian stage with a series of geological tables plus a sequence of glass cases showing a wide range of examples of educational importance. Of particular interest are the relief of the Buso della Rana (a well known karst cave, 26km extension), the “time scale” showing the local stratigraphy succession, nummulites donated by the P.&M. Curie University of Paris, fossil crabs, some fossil shark teeth, 40 million years old. There are intriguing large fossil marine gastropods from the middle-upper Eocene (the biggest weights 27 kg), a collection of fossil fish teeth collected from the sand in the Buso della Rana, crabs and the skeleton of a petrified sea turtle.