New finds unearthed in Muğla’s fossil area
New fossil specimens were found in the 9-million-year-old fossil area near Kaklıca Tepe, in the Özlüce district of the southwestern province of Muğla, where excavations started after fossils were discovered by shepherds in 1993.
The first phase of the work under the responsibility of Muğla Museum was completed in November 2008. Elephant fossils from the Turolian period are on display at the Muğla Museum.
This year the excavations have been restarted and the excavations teams began to reach new finds.
The head of the excavations, Ankara University anthropology department Professor Berna Alpagut said that starting a new study to remove the fossil remains in the excavation area will contribute to the promotion and tourism of the region.
Expressing that she is very happy that the excavations in Özlüce, which started on Oct. 29, 1993, were resumed again, Alpagut said the works will continue regularly next year.
Alpagut stated that with the project created this year, the students in the village will follow the excavation and post-excavation works with them, “We are trying to create a multi-purpose project that will revive cultural tourism, serve the village tourism and attract tourists here.”
Noting that the villagers are also very excited about the excavations, Alpagut said, “The characteristic of the Özlüce excavations are the fossil specimens left by animals that existed in the world between 5 and 10 million years ago and lived in a time period called the Trolian period.”
“We have rhinos the most. In addition, we find fossils of various forest animals such as horses, elephants, predators and pigs, as well as semi-open and closed forest animals. Western Anatolia is known for the richness of these fossils, which filled the basins after a geological rupture and a movement of the earth in the north-south direction,” she added.
“Therefore, Muğla is one of these places. We have found traces of extinct species and habitats of animals that began 9 million years ago. During the excavations we carried out in a short time this year, we found two fragments of elephants, a tusk from a horse and several long bone fragments.”