Geological eras

These rooms go over the geological and biological evolution of our territory, through a 500 million years travel divided into three steps, based on the fossils found in the Pisa area. These steps are represented by three full-size dioramas, recreating three habitats of the past. Every diorama is introduced by an entrance hall provided with informative panels, stone and fossil samples; other remains are kept into the showcases along the route and every diorama also includes a multimedia corner for additional information.

The trip starts in the Paleozoic Era, about 500 million years ago. The area of the present Monte Pisano was then near to the South Pole and covered by the sea. During millions years the area progressively moved North and in 200 million years, it reached the equatorial line. Therefore, we enter a luxuriant permo-carboniferous forest of about 300 million years ago, reconstructed on the basis of the vegetal fossil remains kept into the “San Lorenzo’s schists”.

Our next step is the Mesozoic Era, where we travel along a Triassic plain, inhabited by several species of reptiles. The environment has been reconstructed basing on the fossil footprints found on the Monte Pisano: the most important of them is the one attributed to a dinosaur similar to the Argentinian Errerasaurus, named Grallator toscanus, which is considered to be one of the most ancient evidences of the presence of dinosaurs in Italy and in the whole world.

The trip ends in the Cenozoic Era, when the position of the continents is very similar to the present one, and when, between the 34 and the 20 million years ago, the uplift of the Monte Pisano take place. We dive into the tropical sea which, about 3 million years ago, lapped the lower slopes of these mountains, so we can see a dangerous giant mako shark (Isurus hastalis) attacking an odontocete cetaceous (Hemysintrachelus pisanus). The environment was reconstructed on the basis of the vertebrates and invertebrates sea fossils found in the Pisa area: it catches the eye, entering the room, the skeleton of the Pliophoca Etrusca, the most complete phocid fossil of our hemisphere. This species, extinct nowadays, was related to the present Mediterranean monk seal.