DECRYPTION – More than 34 million years ago, Balkanatolia was home to unique fauna, which disappeared when it was connected to Europe and Asia.
A forgotten continent, extraordinary animals like no other on the planet… You would think the story came out of a fairy tale, yet it is indeed the most serious scientific work, published in Earth Science Reviews (March 2022). The continent is called Balkanatolia. It disappeared 34 million years ago, absorbed by the European tectonic plate. But before disappearing, it was inhabited by a unique fauna whose traces can be read in the soils of southern Europe, on the borders of the Balkans and Turkey.
“Excavation teams first unearthed animal fossils that were highly unusual for the region, says Alexis Licht, paleo and bio-geographer at the CNRS, first author of the publication. Marsupials close to South American fauna, as well as kinds of archaic felines that had disappeared from Europe more than 55 million years ago. We have also discovered mammals whose morphology resembles that of hippopotamuses, but which are not…