Prehistoric elephant fossils seized by police at Croatian border

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A significant amount of animal fossils dating from around 15 million years ago, including bone fragments attributed by experts to prehistoric elephants, were discovered in a car checked at the Bosnian-Croatian border, police said on Wednesday. Croatian.

These objects, seized on April 17, were analyzed by experts from the Natural History Museum in Zagreb and their findings were presented at a press conference on Wednesday in Stara Gradiska, on the Bosnian-Croatian border.

“We were able to establish that these are very precious fossil elements for us paleontologists,” said Drazen Japundzic, head of the museum’s geology and paleontology department, quoted in a police statement.

“These elements are made up of fragments of fossils of animal species from the Miocene period, dating from around 15 million years ago,” he said.

These are remains – including jaw bones and teeth – attributed, during this preliminary analysis, to prehistoric elephants (Gomphotherium and Prodeinotherium), rhinos (Brachypotherium), pigs (Conohyus) and several other extinct species, according to the same source.

“These precious fossil elements will certainly give us new scientific knowledge about life, climate and the environment of the prehistoric past of the Earth, on the territory of Central Europe,” said the Croatian expert.

These remains were discovered in the trunk of a car registered in Slovenia and driven by a 46-year-old Slovenian national, which entered Croatia from Bosnia through the Stara Gradiska border post, 140 km south-east of Zagreb. , according to the police, who do not specify whether the driver was arrested.

They would come from a lignite mine located near the Bosnian town of Bugojno (center), said during the press conference Drazen Japundzic, quoted by the site “24 Sata” (24 Hours).

An official of the Croatian border police, Filip Valentic, also quoted by this portal, specified that 82 fossil elements had been discovered in the car.

These fossils will be temporarily stored at the Natural History Museum in Zagreb in order to “prevent deterioration of the material,” the statement said.