Kos Top

Paleontological findings during a 2003 field trip on the island of Kos in Greece

In 2003, following a request by the local authorities, Professor Dr. George E. Theodorou was asked to ascertain whether there was any scope for bringing to light some paleontological remains on the island of Kos in order to showcase the potential findings in a museum on the island of Kos. The professor along with a group of four students of the Geological Department of the Athens University organised a field trip on the island of Kos from the 17th to the 23rd of April of 2003. Professor Dr. George E. Theodorou was kind enough to share his field notes with me, and for that I am deeply grateful.

The team initially focused on the areas of Mastichari and Antimachia where they attempted to uncover a fossiliferous site that might be promising. Based on information by George Mastoropoulos they headed for specific locations where fossils were supposed to have been sighted in order to initiate an excavation of the area. Unfortunately the abundant vegetation, due to the significant rainfalls during the winter season, hindered their efforts to find anything of note.

On the hillocks of the Kardamaina region, where a number of paleontological remains had been found in the past, the search for a fossiliferous location was successful even though the weather during the time was not accommodating. The number of fossilised bones that were found scattered in this area were an encouraging sign while a quick paleontological excavation was carried out in a specific section. The team was able to confirm the excellent condition of the fossils and determined that a more extensive and productive search could easily be undertaken. Inside the sedimentary rock a number of skeletal parts of a Mastodon (more specifically the pelvis), an ancestor of today's elephant that lived some 2mio years ago, were uncovered. A hardening compound was inserted into the bones. This was deemed necessary because of the importance of the find while gypsum was cast to cover the lot in order to preserve it.

In the Kardamaina region a number of fossils have been found in the past, dating back to more than 2.000.000 years ago but establishing a time frame for this specific find would have to be attempted once the main excavation takes place, as the unearthing of remains of other mammals of the same era will be critical in the precision of the dating process. The fossil of a giant turtle in the Kardamaina area is often referred to in the works of some of the older Koan explorers which proves that there is potential for significant paleontological discoveries...

Unfortunately, the lack of funding prevented the excavation from actually taking place despite the obvious willingness and enthusiasm of the team. Hopefully, sometime in the future, a proper exploration will unveil many treasures. The significant remains that have been brought to light on the nearby small Dodecanesean island of Tilos (which I will dwell upon shortly in another post) are indicative of the biodiversity that we might expect to find on the island of Kos.

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