7.5M-year-old giraffe, horse, elephant fossils ready for exhibition in central Türkiye

Extraordinary prehistoric fossils meticulously preserved by scientific teams give insight into era, says archaeologist

Esma Küçükşahin  | 21.09.2023 - Update : 21.09.2023
7.5M-year-old giraffe, horse, elephant fossils ready for exhibition in central Türkiye

KAYSERI, Türkiye

Fossils of prehistoric animals, including giraffes, horses, and elephants, unearthed in the central province of Kayseri, will soon be on display following extensive conservation efforts at the Science Center. 

These fossils, dating back 7.5 million years, are awaiting exhibition at the Paleontology Museum in Kayseri, a project nearing completion and commissioned by the Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality.

In total, approximately 500-600 fossils have been uncovered since excavations began in 2018. These fossils include the forearm and upper arm bones of a giraffe, which are undergoing restoration to demonstrate their size to visitors, archaeologist Omer Dag told Anadolu.

Dag explained the restoration process, involving cleaning, conservation, and the creation of molds from the original fossils. The construction of the Paleontology Museum is nearly finished, with plans to open it to the public soon, and visitors can expect an exciting experience featuring both field discoveries and presentations.

The fossil excavations, initiated in 2018 near the Yamula Dam on the Kizilirmak River, were under the supervision of Oksan Basoglu, head of the Anthropology Department at Haci Bayram Veli University, and paleoanthropologist Pinar Gozluk Kirmizioglu.

One of the remarkable finds this year is a giraffe fossil, with the restoration process beginning after conservation. Another noteworthy discovery is a three-toed horse around 1.6 meters (5 feet 3 inches) tall, he said.

Dag described the diverse discoveries, including fossils from the antelope group called hollow-horned bovidae, a gazelle resembling modern-day deer, and the ongoing restoration of an elephant. The elephant species exhibits significant diversity near the Yamula Dam area, with unique skull fossils and lengths close to 5 meters (over 16 feet).

These ancient fossils, distinct from their modern counterparts, will be displayed in the Paleontology Museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the adaptations of prehistoric creatures, he said.

Some of these ancient animals possess defensive teeth in their lower jaws, which are absent in modern elephants, he added.

Similarly, the ancient giraffe differs significantly from its modern relative in terms of neck length and morphology. The museum will feature both restored specimens and illustrations to educate and engage the public.

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