This 40 Million-Year-Old Lost Continent Has Been Rediscovered

The lost continent of Balkanatolia has been rediscovered by researchers.

The continent is said to have stretched across the present-day Balkans and Anatolia, hence its name ‘Balkanatolia’.

Researchers suggest that the continent could help explain why there are difference in mammal fossils in the region between Western Europe and Asia.

lost continent of Balkanatolia


The team was led by researchers from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and included French, American and Turkish palaeontologists and geologists.

It has been understood, for some time, that around 34 million years ago fauna indigenous to Asia colonised Western Europe, which led to a major renewal of vertebrate fauna.

This event, dubbed the Grande Coupure, introduced new fauna into the region and led to the extinction of some mammals native to Europe.

However, evidence was then found that seemed to contradict our current understanding of this event.

Fossils in the Balkans were discovered that suggested the presence of Asian mammals in that part of southern Europe, some time before the Grande Coupure.

With this in mind, the team of researchers set out to understand why this might be, and to understand more about the history of the region.

In doing so, they reviewed earlier paleontological discoveries in light of current geological data.

They found that ‘the region corresponding to the present-day Balkans and Anatolia was home to a terrestrial fauna that was homogeneous, but distinct from those of Europe and eastern Asia’.

This means that the ‘region must therefore have made up a single land mass, separated from the neighbouring continent’ to have had such different fauna.


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