Alcoveria brevis, a holotype used to designate a new species discovered at our site.
Some of the fossils found at the site are unique specimens, and studying them has provided new species and genera, which in many cases have been named after the researchers, the village, the region or the country: Alcoveria brevis, Tarracolimulus rieki, etc.
The group which it belongs to is the Alcoveria brevis, the coelacanths, which were considered to have become extinct 80 million years ago. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, a small fishing boat near the Comoro Islands discovered an unknown species among its nets, which, once studied, was determined to belong to the group of coelacanths.
Sea cucumber fossil, belonging to the echinoderm group (starfish, sea lilies, etc.), a replica of the original. MGSB (Geological Museum of the Seminary of Barcelona).
The holothuroidea or sea cucumbers are animals with a small interior bone structure, which is why they are rarely found in the fossil record in the form of complete examples.
240 million years ago, far different from the appearance and relief we see today, in a place not too far from the current coast of Tarragona, there was a lagoon, a small inland shallow sea protected from the waves and trapped between a coral reef and the coast, and full of life.
Belonging to the arthropod group, it is one of the few fossil groups with currently existing members (living fossils).
This specimen is one of the few fossil groups with current member which has endured without undergoing too many changes from ancient times, which is why they are called living fossils. They appeared in the lower Cambrian period, and currently live in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They are commonly known as horseshoe crabs, helmet crabs or king crabs.
Our palaeontological site of Alcover-Mont-ral presents an exceptional and unusual fossilization of aquatic animals, among which it is worth highlighting the fish and invertebrate animals.
Specimen belonging to the Coelenterata group, the only representative of its order found in the country, a replica of the original. MGSB.
Standing out among the members of the coelenterate group are jellyfish, whose soft body is formed by 90% water. For this reason, they do not usually become fossilized, except in exceptional cases, such as those from Alcover-Mont-ral.
Once the animal had died, its body was buried entirely, and this initiated the fossilization process. In the old Alcover-Mont-ral basin, a quick depositing and burial of the animals post-mortem took place, without any elements to disturb their preservation (especially the invertebrates), which has made these specimens unmatched in terms of the knowledge they give of the fauna, essentially marine fauna, from the late Triassic period.
This specimen features a remarkably complete fossil record of the whole living creature (mould and cast).
The calmness of the waters, which allowed the horizontal deposition of layers of sediments, also enabled the deposition at the bottom of the sea of animals which didn’t change at all after they died, which is why we tend to find entire and complete fossils nowadays. The deepest waters lack oxygen and have a very high level of salinity, which impeded the decomposition of the animals that ended up being deposited there.
This spectacular fossil, as well as another one of the same species which are on display in the lobby, are donations from the owner of quarries, Josep Maria Magrané Ollé.
A specimen belonging to the arthropod group, third in importance of those represented on our site, a replica of the original. MGSB (Geological Museum of the Seminary of Barcelona).
Among the arthropods, insects are the most numerous group of animals, to such an extent that we do not know the exact number of species that exist today. In a fossil record, few parts of an insect can ever fossilize, due to their fragility. For this reason, good collections of fossils of insects are rare. In Catalonia, Alcover-Mont-ral displays the oldest insect fossil specimens.
Any remains of a living creature taken by the current towards the bottom of the lagoon could have been fossilized, even if it didn’t live in an aquatic environment, such as this insect or the remains of a conifer, also on display.
The reptiles originated during the late Carboniferous period; some became extinct and others continued to evolve until today. Replica. MGSB.
The importance of the collection of reptile fossils at Alcover-Mont-ral is owing to the fact that they represent the beginnings of the expansion of the saurus.
There are several subclasses of reptiles, among which we highlight the euryapsids, which originated in the late Permian period and became extinct in the Cretaceous period. These are aquatic, mostly marine, reptile amphibians, which present modifications in the extremities in their swimming fins and lengthening of the neck. In Alcover-Mont-ral we display the Nothosaurus and Lariosaurus.
The Cosesaurus aviceps we see in this same showcase, is the reptile fossil of Alcover-Mont-ral that has raised the most controversy with regard to its interpretation.