(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have declared the existence of a small continent in the past, which they called Balkanatolia, since it covered the territories of the modern Balkans and Anatolia.
A specific fauna could have lived in Balkanatolia, which then gave way to mammals from Asia that colonized Europe 34 million years ago. An article about this was published in the journal Earth-Science Reviews.
For millions of years during the Eocene era (55 to 34 million years ago), Western Europe and East Asia were two separate landmasses with very different mammals: European forests were inhabited by endemic fauna, such as Paleotherians, an extinct group distantly related to modern horses, but more reminiscent of tapirs.
At the same time, Asia was inhabited by a more diverse fauna, including families of mammals that now live on both continents.
It is known that about 34 million years ago Western Europe was colonized by Asian species, which led to a significant renewal of the vertebrate fauna and the extinction of endemic mammals. This event is called the Great Break (Grande Coupure).
However, fossils found in the Balkans indicate the presence of Asian mammals in Southern Europe long before the Great Break, which would seem to suggest an earlier arrival of new species to that continent.
Now a group of French, American and Turkish paleontologists and geologists, led by scientists from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France, has undertaken to resolve this paradox.
They believe that for most of the Eocene, the region corresponding to the modern Balkans and Anatolia was a separate place for terrestrial fauna, which remained fairly homogeneous, but at the same time distinct from the fauna of Europe and East Asia.
This exotic fauna included, for example, marsupials of South American origin and embryo pods, large herbivorous mammals resembling hippos and formerly living in Africa. This region, in order to preserve endemics, had to form a single
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