The Archaeological News Network reports something that caught my interest: the remnants of a small jungle with hyenes, rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, antelopes, apes and also sabre toothed tigers that lived 7 million years ago in the mountainous region of Kerasia on northern Euboia, Greece, has been discovered by a team of scientists headed by professor of Paleontology Georgios Theodorou.

"We have already found parts of Acerhorinus neleus, namely the skull and the lower jawbone of a rhino which are displayed at the Mammals Fossil Museum in Kerasia. It is a new species for science and the most important exhibit of the museum. It is a 'holotype' the first and only specimen in the world which is used as the basis for the original description of a species. Our team will seek skulls, jawbones and bones from giraffes, gazelles, apes, birds and turtles not discovered yet and have a special importance for paleontology."

Theodorou's vision and dream is the establishment of a modern local museum which will display the finds of the fossils as well as an exhibition on the petrified forest of Kerasia. An exhibition that will give the opportunity to the visitors to observe the spectacular changes of the geomorphology and enviroment that took place in the last 7 million years, when the Aegean Sea was not sea but land. The excavations, Theodorou said to ANA, are expected to resume in April 2017.

Of course, this is not necessarily of interest to us Hellenisist, but it triggered a memory. Way back in 2013, I already wrote a post on a theory I have and that certain achaeologists have as well: that ancient fossils may have been the source for mythological creatures like griffins, the cyclopses and giants. From that point of view, this find definitely holds interest.

There is no question that hyenes, rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, antelopes, apes and also sabre toothed tigers have very interesting skeletal structures and skulls. Take, for example, the catoblepas (καταβλέπω, katablépō). Pliny the Elder (Natural History, 8.77) described the catoblepas as a mid-sized creature, sluggish, with a heavy head and a face always turned to the ground. It is said to have the body of a buffalo and the head of a wild boar. Its back has scales that protect the beast. Call me crazy, but a rhino (or hippo) would fit the bill. The Ophiotauros was a creature that was part bull and part serpent. The description could maybe be applied to the (skeletal remains of a giraffe.

Now, of course, I am leaping at conclusions. It is interesting to me, though, and I hope it's a thought someone with an archaeological study will come up with as well so there can be a bit more research done on local myth in conjunction with the skeletons found. In conclusion: I am leaving this here for your consideration. Don't call me nuts!