Fossilized bones belonging to 23 different prehistoric species were discovered in Kriopigi, Chalkidiki, during the summer excavations conducted by a team of professors and students from the University of Graz, Austria.
Headed by the Greek professor Evangelia Tsoukala from the Department of Geology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the team completed the archaeological and paleontological work that she began there in 1998.
“The importance of the findings lies in the fact that there was a Savannah ecosystem in this area some six million years ago similar to those found in Africa today. We have so far unearthed hipparion remains, four bovidae species, antelopes, gazelles and giraffes. The most important finding remains to date the well-preserved skull of a five-million-year-old primate (Mesopithecus Pentelicus) that was found in 2006,” she said.
An Austrian professor from the University of Graz, Mathias Halzasek commented on the uniqueness of the geological phenomenon observed in the Cassandra peninsula. “There are many fossilized remains in the area that are well-preserved. We are most interested in sedimentology, which allows us to take a closer look into the ecosystem that once sustained these prehistoric animals,” he said. Further paleontological findings were also discovered in Samos, Nikiti, the island of Euboea, and Sidirokastro in Serres.