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Palaeontology Department Seminar


Hunting down Quaternary mammals on Eastern Mediterranean islands: surveying Crete for seven years

Dr. George Iliopoulos

Department of Geology

University of Patras


Thursday 9th February
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, NHM

16:00 - 17:00



In 1745, Pococke reported the first fossil bone findings from Crete Island, discovered in the Agios Georgios Cave (Akrotiri peninsula) in Western Crete. For more than 250 years the island has been widely acknowledged as an important and popular place for the study of endemic island faunas. All these years, several workers have surveyed the island, discovering tens of fossiliferous Pleistocene localities. Until 2000, 75 mammal localities had been reported from the island. In the last 12 years 37 new localities have been discovered, raising the number of known localities to 112. The vast majority of these localities were discovered by systematic surveying on the Island by the Palaeontology group of the Natural History Museum of Crete. We employed caving and climbing techniques to access deep potholes and rocky cliffs and getting ‘extreme’ helped us discover new localities. Fossiliferous localities were discovered on southern and mountainous areas of Central Crete, where there were no previous reports. The new localities brought new findings such as the new Middle Pleistocene deer from Katharo plato and a Middle Pleistocene otter from Cape Malekas. Therefore, new localities provide new data and thus the Quaternary history of the Island needs to be reviewed and rewritten.



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