Academics from Germany, United States, Spain and Switzerland have shown great interest in fossils, dating back seven to eight million years ago, of vertebrate animals such as elephants, giraffes, rhinoceroses and cats. The fossils had been discovered in the ongoing archaeological excavations in the Kurutlu village of the central Anatolian province of Kırşehir’s Kaman district.
The academics, who visit the Kurutlu village on the coast of the Hirfanlı Dam Lake from time to time, study the fossils in the excavation field, as well as the bones in the Ahi Evran University (AEU) Anthropology Laboratory.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, AEU Anthropology Department and Kurutlu Surface Surveys Group President Associated Professor Ahmet Cem Erkman said many academics come from abroad to Kırşehir to participate in the excavation work for the fossils that were unearthed six years ago.
He said in addition to the elephant, giraffe and rhinoceros bones they discovered in previous years, this year they discovered the bones of a huge feline and examined the prehistoric fossils with foreign scientists.
Erkman said they had made new findings in the excavation field every other day.
“This is a project dating back to the Miocene epoch, particularly the Upper [Late] Miocene epoch. Our work is not only limited to Turkey. We are maintaining excavations with teams headed by professors from Zurich University, the Berlin Museum of Natural History, the University of California
and the National Museum of Natural History of Spain. Respected academics in this field come to Kırşehir. They provide information for the direction of our work,” he said.
Erkman said they would progress their scientific work and make an international publication.
“The fact that we are working with a wide academic team, shows the importance of the Kurutlu locality. We have very satisfying scientific data here,” said Erkman.
He said along with foreigners, academics from Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), Yüzüncü Yıl University, Gazi and Ankara
universities have joined the work on studying the fossils, adding that Culture and Tourism Ministry officials were following the excavations closely.
“Kırşehir Culture and Tourism Director Yıldız Eraslan and ministry officials have come to the excavation field and gathered information about the fossils,” he said.