12 Oct, 2023 @ 14:22
1 min read

Fossil of last ever crocodile to live in Europe some 4.5 MILLION years ago is found in Spain’s Andalucia

EUROPE’s last ever crocodile has been discovered by paleontologists near Granada. 

Paleontologists at the site, in Baza, Granada, have found a 4.5 million year old crocodile fossil amongst mammoths and small vertebrates.

Crocodile fossil found in Baza Spain
The crocodile fossil is believed to be 4.5 million years old. Photo: Rae Wallis/Unsplash

Martinez Navarro, the paleontologist leading the excavation told Viruji: “It is a species of crocodile of African origin that reached the Iberian Peninsula by crossing the sea just before the Mediterranean dried up during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, just over 6 million years ago”.

The dig, which finished this Sunday, has also unearthed many large fossils in excellent conditions including many mammoths. 

The site, known as Baza-1, was discovered in 1996 but work didn’t start until four years later, when 2000 fossils were recovered. 

The seventh dig held at the site, the project was led by academics from the University of Malaga Sergio Ros-Montoya, Rovira i Virgili University and The Catalan Institute for Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution.

The excavation will allow experts to understand the environment at that time, which they believe was a tropical climate characterised by high temperatures and rainfall. 

Paleontologists from Italy, Spain, Ethiopia and Greece took part in the dig and an eighth excavation is expected in the coming years. 

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Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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