1911 · Berlin:
by [Fossils; Palentology; Dinosaurs] RECK, Hans (1886-1937).
Berlin:: R. Friedlander & Sohn, 1911., 1911. 8vo. vii, 449, 15 pp. Figures, plates. Gilt-stamped half black cloth, marbled papered boards. Fine copy. Ownership rubber stamp of P. Claussen. Hans Gottfried Reck was a German volcanologist and paleontologist. In 1913 he was the first to discover the ancient skeleton of a human, which caused quite a stir regarding the origins of mankind, in the Olduvai Gorge, in what is now Tanzania. The Tendaguru Beds, originally discovered in 1906, are a fossil-rich formation in Tanzania that had been considered the richest of Late Jurassic strata in Africa. The Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin excavated at Tendaguru hill and the surrounding area over four years. From 1909 through 1911, Werner Janensch as expedition leader and Edwin Hennig as assistant directed excavations. Hans Reck and his wife Ina Reck lead the 1912 field season. Other European participants include Hans Von Staff. Two of the papers are collaborations between Hans Reck and Hans Von Staff. There are six beautiful fossil plates (Tafel VI-XI) that reference one of their essays titled: "Die Lebensweise der Zweischaler des Solnhofener lithographischen Schiefers.(157-175 pp.): "The Solnhofen limestone, a Jurassic Konservat-Lagerstatte that preserves a rare assemblage of fossilized organisms, including highly detailed imprints of soft bodied organisms such as sea jellies. The most familiar fossils of the Solnhofen Plattenkalk include the early bird Archaeopteryx preserved in such detail that they are among the most famous and most beautiful fossils in the world. The Solnhofen beds lie in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern), halfway between Nuremberg (Nurnberg) and Munich (Munchen) and were originally quarried as a source of Lithographic limestone" -Wikipedia. RECK's expedition in more detail: The Recks (Hans and his new wife) were assigned to follow-up the 1911 expedition that had gathered a large collection of fossils at Tendaguru in German East Africa (now Tanzania). They reached Tendaguru in June 1912, rebuilt the camp and quickly settled into a routine of quarrying to collect dinosaur bones, helped by a large workforce of local people. Great quantities of rubble were excavated to uncover the bones, which lay about 4 metres (13 ft.) below the surface. These included the well-preserved skeletons of two stegosaurs, an armor-plated dinosaur. Reck found an early Iron Age site at Engaruka, where a stream from the Ngorongoro hills plunges down the western wall of the Gregory Rift at a point between Lake Natron and Lake Manyara, and published a description in 1913. Also in 1913, Reck made an ascent of the 2,960 metres (9,710 ft.) Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in the Gregory Rift, about 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) south of Lake Natron He was the third geologist to do so. Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only active carbonatite volcano in the world. In 1914 Reck published a comprehensive report that summarized all that was known about this volcano so far, from his and earlier expeditions. It described the geographic position of the volcano, history of explorations, geomorphological studies and gave a detailed account of the crater region, accompanied by photographs. In 1911 Wilhelm Kattwinkel, a German entomologist, had found interesting fossils in a ravine on the borders of the Serengeti Plains which turned out to contain the remains of a prehistoric three-toed horse. He gave the site the name "Oldoway", later to be changed by the British to Olduvai. In October 1913 Reck managed to find the site again, despite vague directions. He spent the next few months making a geological survey and collecting over 1,700 fossils. The site was unusual in being made of distinctive layers of different-colored lavas and ash. Although there was no way at that time of accurately dating the layers, they did indicate the relative age of the deposits. In December 1913 one of the workmen found a bone protruding from one of the oldest layers, Bed II, at a level where extinct animals from the Pleistocene had been found. He started to excavate, then told Reck of his find. Reck directed the excavation. The workers used hammers and chisels to excavate a human skeleton with modern anatomy that was embedded in a block of sedimentary rock. Reck examined the surrounding rocks carefully, but found no sign of disturbance that could indicate a burial at some later data. Reck took the skull back to Berlin in March 1914, and published an article in which he speculated that the skeleton was of a man from 150,000 years ago, far earlier than had been previously considered for the origin of man. The announcement caused a considerable stir. The society: The Natural History Society of Berlin (GNF) was founded in 1773 and is adjacent to the Gdansk Scientific Society, the oldest German private natural history society. She had a number of prominent members in the natural sciences, especially the biology influential members. The company still exists today and is currently based at the Institute of Zoology, Free University of Berlin. (Inventory #: BL2852)