You are here: Plateosaur Discoveries > Place of Discovery > 
12/10/2018 : 8:45 pm : +0100

Plateosaur Discoveries

Place of Discovery

Time Period and Location 

210 million years ago, towards the end of the Keuper period (upper Triassic period), the area of todays northern Switzerland and southern Germany was a vast, desertlike lowland with flat hills and wide dips. In the dips, temporary lakes would form during times of rain. From time to time, the lower regions would even get flooded by the ocean. Despite the tropic climate at that time, big regions of the mainland had no vegetation and thus, erosion was common.

The dinosaurs discovered at Frick lived in this region. The remains found at the clay quarry Gruhalde were situated in the so called "Bunten Mergel" (varicolored marl), which is a sediment layer that was deposited in the dips by water and wind.  

The numerous discoveries in the 1980's and 1990's made the clay quarry at Frick to one of the most important places of discoveries for plateosaurs in Europe.


In the lower, and in the more protected areas of this vast, flat land, where there was enough water, plants were able to grow, especially horsetail up to a height of 6 m. 

A Plateosaurus Dies

From the numerous findings one concluded, that Plateosaurus lived in herds. Looking for food, the dinosaurs many times wandered a long distance in the sometimes flooded, sometimes dried out, desertlike land. If they were not successful in finding enough water and food, they died of thirst or hunger.

At the next strong rain, these cadavers or parts of it were being carried away by muddy torrents and deposited in the lower regions with the mud.  Over time, the mud dried out and settled. Because of the pressure of additional layers of mud, the brittle bones of the dinosaurs broke and got flattened. The dried, soft tissue like muscle, tendons or skin decayed completely over time.