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GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MUSEUM WINDHOEK NAMIBIA. This is a Museum that most tourists overlook simply because they don't know it's there...  Each subject is explained in terms that even us 'laymen' can understand.

 

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Geological Survey Museum Windhoek Namibia

Geological Survey Museum Windhoek Namibia  

This is a Museum that most tourists overlook simply because they don't know it's there. You don't have to be a Geologist to understand and appreciate the many and varied displays. Each subject is explained in terms that even us 'laymen' can understand. This page concentrates on the fossil finds in Namibia. The museum's geological samples and history presentation are excellent and we soon hope to develop a page that will do it justice.

 

Geological Survey Museum Namibia

Getting There: Take the south road leading our of the city - Auas Road. after 500 meters you will see the Ministry of Mines and Energy Building on your right hand side and also the Safari Hotel and Eros Airport. Turn right into Aviation Road. The Ministry's building is on your left hand side. You can drive through the security gate for good parking. The Geological Survey Museum is inside the main building. The reception desk staff will direct you. There is no entry charge.


 

Pleistocene / Holocene (1,81 Ma to 10,000 years)

This Brain Cast of Orange River Man (100,000 to 50,000 years ago) shows well developed blood vessels in the parietal region of the skull and less clear development on the frontal lobes which is indicative that hearing and vision were extremely important for these archaic homo sapiens.

 

Jurassic Period (200 to 146 Ma years ago)

The fossilized remains of the below replica prosauropod dinosaur, Massospondylus were discovered in the Etjo sandstone formation at the National Waterberg Plateau Park in 1999. Massospondylus is of one of the oldest known of dinosaurs and grew to a length of about 6 m. As can be seen the forelegs, although used for walking on, are much shorter than the hind legs. It is thought that this dinosaur could have also walked and run by using just its hind legs. The blade-like teeth were used for slicing through the vegetation that it ate, indicating its food source was at ground level. Massospondylus also swallowed small pebbles to assist in the digestion of its food, in a similar way to some modern day birds, e.g. Ostrich. It was many millions of years later that the more well known of dinosaurs achieved their massive size.

 

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum model of Massospondlyus found at Waterberg

Massospondlyus

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum fossilized jaw of Kannemeyeria

  Erythosuchus

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum fossilized skull of Erythosuchus

Kannemeyeria

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum skull of Orange River man

Orange River Man

 

Triassic Period (251 - 200 million years ago)Kannemeyeria: A mammal-like reptile herbivore common in Namibia some 230 million years ago and this is the largest known skull of the species. The snout was beak-like and was accompanied by two tusk like canines that extended below the upper jaw. The head weighed +-15kg and the large flanges at the rear of the head are for the massive neck muscles .

Erythrosuchus was a Thecodont (socket toothed) carnivorous reptile that were the ancestors of crocodiles and dinosaurs and birds, and at 5 meters were the largest land predator of their time. They probably preyed on large mammal-like reptiles such as Kannemeyeria. The above fossilized skull and jawbone were found in Omingonde Riverbed in Northern Namibia in 1992.

 

The Permian Period (299 to 251 Ma years ago)

The below fossil of a  Mesosaurus tenuidens was found in a band of Karoo Sequence Limestone in the southern Karas Region of Namibia. Mesosaurus tenuidens was the  

earliest of the reptiles that returned to living in the water. Following the time of the melt of the Great Gondwana Ice Age a large inland sea formed across where large areas of the  the South African Karoo, Southern Namibia, Brazil and Uruguay used to be

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum trace fossil of Mesosaurus tenuidens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mesosaurus tenuidens

before the continents of Africa and South America separated some 130 to 120 Ma years ago. Mesosaurus fossils have been found in both Brazil and Namibia and thus help support the theory of Continental Drift.

Several excellent examples of Mesosaurus can be seen on the farm Spitzkoppie about 45 km north west of Keetmanshoop.

 

 

Namibia Gelogical Survey Museum Stromatolite from Otavi District

Stromatolite

 

Proterozoic (2,500 to 530 Ma)

The Air That We Breath: The oldest known of fossils in the world are of the green-blue algae known as cynobacteria that lived at the edges of the ancient oceans as early as 3,500 million years ago. These simple algae increased to be the dominant life force on the planet for most of the Eon of time known as the Proterozoic, and derived their energy from the sun's rays by the process of photosynthesis. 3,000 Ma ago the earth's atmosphere was rich with carbon dioxide and devoid of oxygen, but over a period of 1 billion years the activity of these small algae had increased the

activity of these small algae had increased the atmosphere's oxygen content to about 20% which in turn allowed for more complex life forms to evolve. These algae with their glutinous sheaths as protection grew in colonies and carpeted the sea bed. Grains of sand would cling to the sheath's and eventually block the sun's light from them. The algae's survival response was that of growing up through the layer of grains in order that they could continue with the process of photosynthesizing. This pattern of early life continued over hundreds of millions of years and eventually led to the building of the great carbonate mountain chains. The fossilized remains of these algae 'constructions' are named Stromatolites and represent the some of the oldest of all fossils. Good examples 830 to 760 Ma can be found in the Otavi Mountains of northern Namibia.


Book by Gabie Schneider and Christine Marias " Passage Through Time" Passage Through Time - The Fossils of Namibia: This book takes you on a journey that began some 4,5 billion years ago. It explains in fascinating detail and in language that the layman can understand the complete record of the geological development of Namibia right up to the present time and the important relationship that exists between geology and palaeontology. The story of how life evolved in the ancient seas some 3,5 billion years ago and the life and times of the large variety of strange and wonderful creatures and plants of which fossils have been uncovered in Namibia. You'll learn about the time when Namibia was in the grip of a long ice age that was followed by great deluges that formed a vast inland sea where creatures such as Mesosaurus tenuidens lived; of volcanic upheavals, the building of great mountains, and the coming and going of deserts.  After reading this book you'll see Namibia in a different and more interesting light.

Written by Dr. Gabi Schneider and beautifully illustrated by Christine Marais This book is a must read. Published in 2004 by Gamsberg Macmillan ISBN 99916-0-515-0

 

Acknowledgements and further reading: G3, GV3, P1.

 

 

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