Danube Virtual Museum


Cape Greben

Iron Gate/Đеrdаp Gorge, Eastern Serbia

Cape Greben, a vertical cut through the marine sediments of the Jurassic and Cretaceous age, is in the Iron Gate/Đеrdаp Gorge on the raod Golubac-Donji Milanovac in Eastern Serbia.

Collecting fossils at this site was carried out by experts of the Natural History Museum in Belgrade in 1965/66, as part of a detailed geological and paleontological research in the area between Kladovo and Brnjica, which was supposed to be submerged during the construction of HPP Iron Gate/Đеrdаp. Research was conducted in order to, in terms of scientific importance, register all geological and paleontological sites that would be submerged and collect valuable specimens of fossils, minerals and rocks.

The remains of over 2,000 specimens of fossils from the Middle Jurassic period (about 176-160 million years ago), found in fossil parts of extremely red, ferrous limestone, were the most interesting part of the ridge cape for paleontologists. During the Jurassic Period, the greater part of the territory of today's Serbia was covered by the great ocean of Tethys, where various marine organisms such as cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods and molluscs lived. They do not have their descendants in the existing, recent fauna.

Cephalopods soft body was protected with the spiral shell made of the mineral aragonite. The shell was composed of a large number of air chambers. Cephalopod had its own locomotive organ and moved through the water in two ways - reactively (in reverse) pushing the water out of the shells similar to jet engines, as well as vertically up and down, thanks to the little ventricles used as pressure regulators. They fed on tiny marine animals, plankton, small fish and crustaceans and they were prey of an extinct marine reptile - Mesosaurus.

It was rare to find anywhere in Southeastern Europe such a geological site as Greben. Most of the ridge is submerged today. Yet, specimens of collected fossils have remained as a paleontological museum rarity and are today preserved in the Natural History Museum in Belgrade. One of the extremely attractive and valuable specimens is precisely this procerites formed by disposal of dead cephalopod shells on the sea floor.
(Text: Natural History Museum in Belgrade)