Short-necked giraffes and saber-toothed cats roamed Europe two million years ago, fossil record reveals

Researchers examining Romanian fossils find multiple animals which hadn’t previously been found in the region before

Artist's impression of a saber-toothed cat
Artist's impression of a saber-toothed cat

Two million years ago, in the early Pleistocene era, as the early human species homo erectus emerged, the wildlife of Eurasia would have been spectacularly diverse, with an array of species which are now extinct.

In grasslands which stretched across countries including modern-day Romania, animals including bears, sabre-toothed cats, hyaena, rhinoceros, pangolins, short-necked giraffes, prehistoric pumas, a bird related to the ostrich, and even a large terrestrial monkey could have been spotted.

This new knowledge of the biodiversity in the region comes after a re-analysis of fossils from the unique fossil deposits found at the site of Grăunceanu in the Olteţ River Valley of central Romania.

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