Faculty of Natural and Technical Sciences
Department of Biosystematics

Laboratory of Palaeobiology
Oleska str. 22, 45-052 Opole, Poland

The Laboratory of Paleobiology is part of the Department of Biosystematics. Our research focuses on the Mesozoic Era, because Opole is located literally on top of Cretaceous sediments and adjacent to outcrops of Triassic (Muschelkalk and Keuper) and Jurassic strata.

The Upper Silesian Muschelkalk is famous for yielding the richest fossil assemblages across the entire epicontinental Triassic of Europe. The best outcrops are found at numerous active and abandoned quarries located 20-40 km south-east of Opole, where the transgressive-regressive sequence of the Lower Muschelkalk (comprising also the Röth limestones and the Middle Muschelkalk Diplopora dolomites) can be seen. The fossil assemblage is dominated by marine invertebrates, including reef-building scleractinian corals and siliceous sponges. Bones of fish, amphibians and reptiles are rare; however, they do form thin horizons at the Röth/Muschelkalk boundary near Gogolin.

The most famous locality close to Opole is Krasiejów – the place with the world-famous bone accumulations of Late Triassic vertebrates, such as Silesaurus opolensis, Polonosuchus silesiacus, Stagonolepis olenkae, Paleorhinus sp., Metoposaurus diagnosticus, Cyclotosaurus intermedius and others. The Krasiejów site still is an active place of excavation and a splendid example of co-operation between science and business. Here is situated one of the largest and most modern dinoparks, with an in-situ exhibit of original bones.

Upper Cretaceous strata in this area are accessible at three (both working and disused) quarries, i.e. Odra, Folwark and Bolko. The Turonian chalks and limestones, with marly intercalations, are locally rich in macrofossils, and the assemblages are closely comparable to those from northern Germany, northern France and southern England, illustrating the Boreal province. Numerous inoceramid bivalves (good index forms), ammonites (small heteromorphs and large-sized desmoceratoids), echinoids, non-inoceramid bivalves, gastropods, sponges, solitary corals and ichnofossils occur. Amongst vertebrates, shark and ray teeth and teleost fish scales and bones are the commonest, but other groups should also be present, albeit rarely.

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Meet Our Team


Main field: Muschelkalk (lithology, stratigraphy, paleontology, sedimentology, diagenesis). My investigations focus on the Upper Silesia region in southern Poland. Bone accumulations (sedimentology, diagenesis, paleontology). Recently I work on Lower Triassic accumulations at Gogolin and on Upper Triassic accumulations at Krasiejów and other localities in Silesia. Biogeochemical processes in sediments.


Main field: biology of life, taxonomy and evolution of Temnospondyli (the group of extinct amphibian) with the special focus on the paleohistological studies. Private: reads books and meet new people.


Main field: macropalaeontology, palaeobiology, biostratigraphy and event stratigraphy of Late Cretaceous cephalopods, inoceramids and some other groups mainly from the area of Far East Russia but also from other localities in Europe


Main field: macropalaeontology and biostratigraphy of the type Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous); other fields – Late Cretaceous vertebrates; current research interest – taxonomy, palaeobiology and biostratigraphy of Late Cretaceous cephalopods, decapod and thoracican crustaceans, echinoderms and trace fossils, mainly from the Maastrichtian type area but also from other localities in Europe and Greenland; Paleocene invertebrate faunas from the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.


Majer, D., and Lubka, M. 2003. An accumulation of bones of large Late Triassic reptiles at Krasiejów, Opolean Silesia, Poland. Nature Journal, Opole Scientific Society 36: 69-76.

Sulej, T., and Majer, D. 2005. The temnospondyl amphibian Cyclotosaurus from the Upper Triassic of Poland. Palaeontology 48(1): 157-170.

Konietzko-Meier, D., and Wawro, K. 2007. Mandibular dentition in the Late Triassic temnospondyl amphibian Metoposaurus. Acta Paleontologica Polonica 52(1): 213-215.
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Konietzko-Meier, D., and N. Klein. 2013. Unique growth pattern of Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis (Amphibia, Temnospondyli) from the Upper Triassic of Krasiejów, Poland. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 370:145-157.
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Konietzko-Meier, D., and Sander, P.M. 2013. Long bone histology of Metoposaurus diagnosticus (Temnospondyli) from the Late Triassic of Krasiejów (Poland) and its paleobiological implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35(5):1-16. Featured article and cover.
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Konietzko-Meier, D., Bodzioch, A., Sander, P. M. 2013. Histological characteristics of the vertebral intercentra of Metoposaurus diagnosticus (Temnospondyli) from the Upper Triassic of Krasiejów (Upper Silesia, Poland). Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 103:237-250.

Dzik J. 2008. Gill Structure and Relationships of the Triassic Cycloid Crustaceans. Journal of Morphology 269:1501–1519 (2008).
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Salamon M. A. 2005. Encrinus cf. liliiformis LAMARCK, 1801, the youngest crinoid from the Polish Muschelkal (Middle Triassic). Geologia, 2005, Tom 31, Zeszyt 2, 243–252.
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Skawina A. 2014. Population dynamics and taphonomy of the Late Triassic (Carnian) freshwater bivalves from Krasiejów (Poland). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 379–380 (2013) 68–80.
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Szulc J., Becker A. 2007. Pan-European Correlation of the Epicontinental Triassic, 4th Meeting International Workshop on the Triassic of southern poland September 3-8, 2007, FIELDTRIP GUIDE.
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Zaton M., Piechota A., Sienkiewicz E. 2005. Late Triassic charophytes around the bone-bearing bed at Krasiejów (SW Poland) – palaeoecological and environmental remarks. Acta Geologica Polonica, Vol. 55 (2005), No. 3, pp. 283-293
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Hagdorn H., Gluchowski E., Boczarowski A. 1996. The crinoid fauna of Thediplopora dolomite (middle Musschelkalk, Upper Anisian) at Pierkary Slaskie in Upper Silesia. Geol. Paläont. Mitt. Innsbruck, ISSN 0378-6870, Band 21, S. 47-87, 1996
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Bozioch A., 1989. Biostratinomy and sedimentary environment of the echinoderm-sponge biostromes in the karchowice beds, middle triassic of upper silesia. Annales Societas Geologorum Poloiae (1989), vol. 59:331-350
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Pacyna G. 2014. Plant remains from the Polish Triassic. Present knowledge and future prospects. Acta Palaeobotanica 54(1): 3–33, 2014 DOI: 10.2478/acpa-2014-0001.
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Kaim A., Nmoźwbdzki R. 1999. Middle Triassic ammonoids from Silesia, Poland. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 44, I, 93-115.
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Sulej T. 2002. Species discrimination of the Late Triassic temnospondyl amphibian Metoposaurus diagnosticus. Palaeontologica Polonica 47 (3): 535–546.
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Brusatte S. L., Butler R. J., Sulej T., Niedzwiedzki G., 2008The taxonomy and anatomy of rauisuchian archosaurs from the Late Triassic of Germany and Poland. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54 (2): 221–230. DOI: 10.4202/app.2008.0065
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Kendzierski M. 2007.Calcareous nannofossil and inoceramid biostratigraphies of a Middle Turonian to Middle Coniacian section from the Opole Trough of SW Poland. Cretaceous Research (2007) 1e17.
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Szulc J. 2005. Sedimentary environments of the vertebrate-bearing Norian deposits from Krasiejow, Upper Silesia (Poland). Hallesches Jahrb. Geowiss. Reihe B, Beiheft 19, 161 – 170, Halle (Saale) 2005.
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Gadek K. 2012. Paleohistology of ribs and clavicle of Metoposaurus diagnosticus from Krasiejow (Upper Silesia, Poland). Opole Scientific Society Nature Journal No 45 – 2012: 39-42.
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Trammer J., Kaim A., Malkowski K. 1996. Disturbance rings and shell shape in the Triassic brachiopod Coenithyris vugaris. N. jb. Geol. Paleont, Abh. 201, 1, 95-105, Stutgart, August 1996.
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Olszewska-Nejbert D. 2007. Late Cretaceous (Turonian – Coniacian) irregular echinoids of western Kazakhstan (Mangyshlak) and southern Poland (Opole). Acta Geologica Polonica, Vol. 57 (2007), No. 1, pp. 1-87
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Adam Bodzioch, Selected papers.
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Who: Mateusz Antczak
From: Poznań, Institute of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland)
Interests: vertebrate paleontology, Triassic faunas, Aeotosaurs, paleo-ecology, late glacial and Holocene mollusks.

I’ve been interested in paleontology since I was a kid, and I always wanted to take part in excavations, but unfortunately, no such thing existed in Poland at the time. The first thing I heard about the excavation site in Krasiejòw was back in 2003. I knew (more or less) what was found there I joined my first year of excavation, rather by accident. At my deanery I read an announcement about the camp, to which you had to sign in. I wrote a serious application form, trying to prove that I'm the right person to take part in the excavation, and I got accepted! I joined the camp later that year, and. I went back for four consecutive times now. I learned some useful things such as different preparation techniques, And I got a lot of insight into the Triassic faunas . I also met people from all around the country and abroad. With some of them we're still in touch from time to time. Meeting the academic staff who are organizing the camps, and invited me to lend some of the fossil material for my master paper, made my dream of being a paleontologist, come true!

Mateusz Antczak
Who: Anthonie Hellemond
From: Grimbergen (Belgium)
Interests: Paleo-ecology & reconstruction, Belgian Paleozoic deposits, Pleistocene vertebrates, Devonian invertebrates, geology, structural geology, Historical geology-paleontology, stratigraphy.

My first experience with paleontological fieldtrips around the Opole region, takes me back to the summer of 2012. It was my very first trip ever to Poland, and I was amazed by the hospitality, and the accommodations at the dig site in Krasiejòw. On the second day of the excavations, I discovered a complete metoposaurus skull, surrounded by several other bones. It took us an entire week to get everything out. I have some very good memories about those two weeks, and ever since, I’ve returned every year. The individual friendship with both students and academic personnel, is what keeps me coming back. Last year I was among the first groups of people to join the organized tour around different geological dig sites near Opole, which was really fun to do. As a result of these amazing experiences, I’m currently organizing presentations, and writing articles to inform fellow geology and paleontology enthusiasts to join me next year. I’m hoping to establish a more open collaboration between geology and paleontology enthusiasts in both Belgium & Poland
Anthonie Hellemond
Who: Szymon Górnicki
From: Kalisz (Poland)
Interests:Vertebrate Palaeontology, Tyrannosauridae, Spinosauroidea, Aetosauria, Dinosaurs postures, Body proportions and locomotion, Paleoart, Mass extinctions, History of paleontology.

The fieldtrips to document the Triassic deposits in Krasiejòw, gave me plenty of opportunities for self-development. At first, I improved my field excavation techniques, and preparation skills, and I experienced working in situ, on an international site of great scientific value. The fossil hind limbs of several Aetosaurs from Krasiejòw, was the main topic of my master’s degree paper. It was a scientific challenge, I used my field knowledge from the dig site, to finish preparations, and afterwards, I studied a little known group of archosaur reptiles called Aetosaurs.
In Krasiejòw I got the opportunity to display my paleoart galleries in exhibition area of the park, located next to dig site. My drawings of different prehistoric animals were shown to the visitors of the park and dig site, and their response and comments were very positive. I met a lot of new friends from different cities across Poland, as well as other countries. I shared a lot of fun with them, and I hope to continue this in the future.

Szymon Górnicki
Who: Maciej Ruciński
From: Szczecin (Poland)
Interests: I have been interested In paleontology ever since I was a young boy. But my journey within this amazing science began, when I first joined the Krasiejów excavations in 2010. The unusual amount and conditions of the fossils in this locality, is what really amazed me. These truly bizarre and uncommon animals occurred 225 million years ago, and it’s a thrill to dig them up and see their fossil remains in real life . However, the best thing that has happened to me in during all these summer excavations, was the possibility to meet and work with many paleontology enthusiasts, and professional paleontologists, thanks to whom I could enlarge my knowledge, and further develop my interest. The uniqueness of this place is what keeps me coming back here every year. I’m already looking forward to meet new people next year and share with them the most beautiful period in the year.

Maciej Ruciński
Who: Kamil Gruntmejer
From: Poznań (Poland)
Interests:Geology, mineralogy, histology of dermal bones, skull mechanics of temnospondyls, dinosaurs, engineering geology of Poland

I have been interested in paleontology since my early childhood. Dinosaurs always fascinated me, and a couple of years ago, I had the chance to visit the late-Triassic paleontological digsite of Krasiejów (Poland), my knowledge and interest in prehistoric vertebrates has increased ever since. I have been to Krasiejów four times. During my first year In 2010, I was able to find, and dig up the remains of vertebrates of which then I knew very little. It was the first time in my life I could really touch the fossils of primitive Triassic amphibians such as: Metoposaurus sp. and Cyclotosaurus sp., but also reptiles (Fitosaurus sp). and dinosauromorphs (Silesaurus sp.). From that moment on, I’ve been going to the summer excavations in Krasiejów every year. In 2013 I helped in the excavation of a large skull and mandible of a Cyclotosaurus. Last summer (2014) I discovered lots of ribs, vertebras a clavicles of a Metoposaurus and several teeth and vertebrae of Fitosaurus. Krasiejów is perfect place to meet many magnificent and friendly people – some of them are friends now. I recently started working on the fossil material of Metoposaurus (mainly cranial material and mandibula), I’m also busy with preparing articles on my research. I hope, that next year will be as equally interesting in Krasiejów, both in discoveries, as in spending a nice time with friends from other countries.


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