| More


Views: 416 Downloads: 268
G. Iliopoulos, H. Eikamp, C. Fassoulas
G. Iliopoulos, H. Eikamp, C. Fassoulas


During the last five years systematic explorations of the Natural History Museum of Crete have added more than 20 Pleistocene fossil localities around Crete to the catalogue of the over 70 already known on the Island. The new localities are distributed in all four prefectures of Crete. The most important of these is the newly discovered site of Koutalas at Cape Drepano in Western Crete. The fossil remains are found in two levels and in red cemented clays of a collapsed cave. In the upper level a rich assemblage of micromammal, bird and large mammal remains has been discovered. The large mammals consist of dwarf hippopotamus (Hippopotamus creutzburgi) and elephants (Elephas sp.). A partly articulated skeleton (vertebral column, mandible and few long bones) of a dwarf hippo has been found next to a deciduous molar of an elephantid, indicating that the two taxa probably coexisted. The micromammal remains belong to the giant Cretan mouse Kritimys catreus. Therefore, the age of the assemblage is dated to the Kritimys catreus zone and thus to the late Middle Pleistocene. In the lower level scattered remains of deers, birds and micromammals have been identified, and their age is most likely younger than that of the upper level.


Endemic island fauna; Pleistocene; dwarf hippopotamus; fossil mammals;

Full Text:



Bate, D.M.A., 1905. I. Four and a half months in Crete in search of Pleistocene mammalian remains.

Geol. Mag. 2, 13-204.

de Blainville, H.M.D., 1847. Osteographie, 22. Hippopotamus et Sus. Paris, p. 248.

Dermitzakis, M.D. 1977. The quaternary fossil mammals in caves and karstic holes of Crete Island and

their significance (in Greek). Bulletin de la Societe Speleologique de Grece 14, 152-90.

Dermitzakis, M.D. and de Vos, J., 1987. Faunal succession and the evolution of mammals in Crete during

the Pleistocene. N. Jahrb. Geol. Palaeont. Mh. 173, 377-408.

Dermitzakis, M.D. and Sondaar, P.Y., 1978. The importance of fossil mammals in reconstructing palaeogeography

with special reference to the Pleistocene Aegean archipelago. Ann. Geol. Pays Hellen. 29,


Kuss, S.E., 1970. Abfolge und Alter der Pleistozänen Säugetierfaunen der Insel Kreta. Ber. Nat.forsch.

Ges. Freiburgi. Br. 60, 35-83.

Lax, E.M., 1996. A gazetteer of Cretan paleontological localities. In: Reese, D.S. (Ed.), Pleistocene and

Holocene Fauna of Crete and its First Settlers. Monographs in World Archaeology 28, 1-32.

Lydekker, R., 1885. Catalogue of the fossil Mammalia in the British Museum, part II. Containing the

Order Ungulata, suborder Artiodactyla. British Museum (Natural History), London.

Mayhew, D.F., 1977. The endemic Pleistocene Murids of Crete. I-II. Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wet. 80,


Owen, R., 1845. Descriptive and illustrated catalogue of the fossil organic remains of Mammalia and

Aves contained in the Museum of Royal College of Surgeons of England, p. 391.

Poulakakis, N., Mylonas, M., Lymberakis, P. and Fassoulas, C., 2002. Origin and taxonomy of the fossil

elephants of the island of Crete (Greece): problems and perspectives. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,

Palaeoecology 186, 163-183.

Poulakakis, N., Parmakelis, A., Lymberakis, P., Mylonas, M., Zouros, E., Reese, D.S., Glaberman, S. and

XLIII, No 2 – 924

Caccone, A. 2006. Ancient DNA forces reconsideration of Mediterranean pygmy elephantids. Biology

Letters 2, 451-454.

Pococke, R., 1745. A description of the East and some other countries. 2 volumes. W. Bowyer, London.

Schlager, N., 1996. Phangromouro I and II: Two recently discovered paleontological sites, with a note on

Hogarth’s Zakros sealings nos. 92 and 139. In: Reese, D.S. (Ed.), Pleistocene and Holocene Fauna

of Crete and its First Settlers. Monographs in World Archaeology 28, 33-45.

Simonelli, V., 1907. Mammiferi Quaternari dell’ Isola di Candia. Mem. Accad. Sci. Bologna 6, 251-267.

Symeonidis, N., Theodorou, G. and Gianopoulos, B., 2000. The new species Elephas chaniensis from

the submerged Pleistocene deposits of Vamos Cave at Chania, Crete (in Greek). Bull. Soc. Speleol.

Greece 22, 95-108.

Theodorou, G., Roussiakis, S. and Simitzis, V., 2000. New Upper Quaternary mammal remains from

Rethymno, Crete (Greece) (in Greek). Bull. Soc. Speleol. Greece 22, 85-94.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 G. Iliopoulos, H. Eikamp, C. Fassoulas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.