Delicate ancient fossils in Turkey’s Çankırı excavated with needles
ÇANKIRI – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosExcavation work at the fossil site in the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı has been ongoing for many years with the contribution of university students, using a special needle called “biz.”
Since 1997, Çankırı’s Fatih district has been the scene of excavations and so far 3,300 fossils, including ones thought to date back 8 million years, have been unearthed in the area.
Ankara University Anthropology Department member Professor Ayla Sevim Erol is the head of excavations, carried out by 25 students from various universities this year.
Erol said the excavation works were very important and they had so far unearthed the fossils of more than 20 animal species including elephants, rhinos, horses, pigs, giraffes, goats, sheep, deer and saber-toothed lions.
“As soon as fossils come to light, they decay. So we try to unearth them by applying special chemicals without causing any damage. The tools we use here are very important. We need to unearth them in the correct way in order to access exact information about the life of these animals. We use dentist tools, needle-like things, spiked irons and brushes. In this way, we try to reveal the history of Anatolia with these small tools,” she added.
Erol said the region may have been a wetland in the distant past.
“We think that this region was one of the migratory routes of animals migrating to the north. We can observe that animal fossils overlap each other, so we estimate that they died in a marsh here. A landslide destroyed the bones, so we try to unearth them with the least damage caused,” she said.
“Since the beginning, we have been digging this hill with needles. There is so much to unearth that we may not even live long enough to finish excavating the whole of this fossil layer. We need at least 50 more years, I think,” the excavation head said.
Erol added that the possibility of finding new species was high and they would continue working this year until mid-September.