Balkantolia .. Rediscovers a continent that was forgotten 40 million years ago | Sciences

Balkantolia .. Rediscovers a continent that was forgotten 40 million years ago |  Sciences

Located between Europe, Africa and Asia, this forgotten continent became a gateway between Asia and Europe about 34 million years ago when a sea level rise formed a bridge.

Balkandolia, a low-lying continent that existed about 40 million years ago, was a habitat for exotic animals that “paved the way” for mammals to settle in southern Europe, a new study has found.

Report Published on the Science Alert website on February 22, this forgotten continent is located between Europe, Africa and Asia, and the continent – what researchers call “Balkandolia” – became a gateway between Asia and Europe when sea levels dropped. 34 million years ago.

Written by paleontologist Alex Lech and colleagues Their new study“When and how did the first wave of Asian mammals reach Southeastern Europe? It is still not understood.”

Asian mammals in Europe

But the result was exciting; About 34 million years ago, at the end of the Eocene epoch, with the advent of new Asian mammals, many native mammals from Western Europe became extinct, causing a sudden extinction, now known as the Grand Cooper or Eocene-Oligocene extinction.

However, recent fossil discoveries in the Balkans have raised this timeline, pointing to an “alien” biome that enabled Asian mammals to colonize Southeastern Europe 5-10 million years before the formation of the Grande Copier.

This Forgotten Continent is located between Europe, Africa and Asia (Lexus Lich – Gregory Mattis – “CNRS”) [CNRS])

To confirm this, Lect and his colleagues at the French National Center for Scientific Research re-examined evidence from all known fossil sites in the region, including the present-day Balkan Peninsula, the Anatolian Plateau, and the westernmost tip of Asia.

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The team updated the age of these sites based on current geographical data, and reconstructed ancient geographical changes that occurred in the area with a “complex history of frequent sinking and re-emergence”.

Starting point

Their finds suggest that Balkandolia served as a springboard for the movement of animals from Asia to Western Europe, transforming an ancient continent from a free continent into a land bridge – and the subsequent invasion of Asian mammals – into something. “Ancient Geographical Changes”.

About 50 million years ago, Balkandolia was an isolated archipelago, isolated from neighboring continents, where, according to analysis, a diverse group of animals from Europe and East Asia flourished. Subsequent low sea levels, rising Antarctic ice sheets and tectonic shifts connected Balkandolia to Western Europe 40 to 34 million years ago.

Fossil records show that this allowed Asian mammals, including rats and angiosperms (also known as angios or angulate), to move west and invade Balkantolia. In addition to this record, Lakh and his colleagues found fragments of the jawbone of a rhino-like animal from a new fossil site in Turkey about 38 to 35 million years ago.

The Grande Copier is the oldest analogous fossil of Asian angiosperms found in Anatolia at least 1.5 million years ago, indicating that Asian mammals were on their way to Europe via the Balkans.

Balkandolia 40 Million Years Ago - TodayA group of low sea levels connect Balkandolia to Western Europe (Lexus Lech – Gregory Mattis – CNRS)

South track

Perhaps, as Lakh and colleagues point out, this southern route to Europe via Balkandolia is more suitable for adventurous animals than crossing the arid, cold, and desert-step paths of Central Asia at the time.

However, they note in their dissertation that “the relationship between the islands of Balkandolia and the existence of this southern scattering path is still under discussion” and that the story thus far compiled is “based on mammalian fossils only and is the most complete picture.” Balkan biodiversity of the past. “It still needs to be isolated.”

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Many of the geographical changes that led to Balkandolia are not yet fully understood, and it should be noted that this review is only a team interpretation of the fossil record.

However, fossil records of mammals and other vertebrates inhabiting the islands are generally sparse and incomplete, while Balkandolia’s rich fossil record “provides a unique opportunity to document the evolution and extinction of an island that once lived in the abyss,” the team concludes.

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