Fossils of giant deer, wolves and rhinos have been found in arid rivers in northern Italy.

Fossils of endangered animals Over the thousands of years, which once lived in large numbers in our country, slowly emerging, providing new clues to our Italian prehistoric fauna: the exceptional and dramatic drought that is drying up completely. Northern Italy This is leading to amazing paleontological discoveries.

Despite The return of rain In recent weeks, the levels of rivers, po and its tributaries are still well below the seasonal average. The productivity of hydropower plants is low and the agricultural sector is suffering due to delay in sowing date.

Po dry
In the picture: Po dry

The New discovery Tell us about what has been found in recent months An Italy is a little different from what we used to know. The Po Valley and the rest of the peninsula were inhabited by animals that we now firmly associate with the outlying areas. Likes carnivores Hyena, Cave lion (Panthera leo spelia) And The leopard Marcus rhinoceros, European hippopotamus (Hippopotamus antiquus), various species of elephants and woolly mammoth or megalocero.

A megalosero skull has been found on a beach near Cremona

A complete megalosero skeleton
In the picture: A complete megalosero skeleton

And it really is Find a megalocero end in chronological order, Which took place on the shores of the Serafini River Island on the banks of the Po River between Piasenza, Cremona and Lodi. The megalocero (Megaloceros giganteus) 450 thousand to 8 thousand years ago there was a large species of deer in Central Europe and Asia. We know from some of its images in rock paintings of important places like Lascaux that our ancestors knew this deer and probably hunted it, although it was considered a rare animal for that time.

A replica of a 15,000-year-old rock painting from the Lascaux Cave depicting a megalosero
In the picture: A replica of a 15,000-year-old rock painting from the Lascaux Cave depicting a megalosero

To give you an idea of ​​the dominant size of this herbivore, think It can exceed two meters in height From the shoulder and was An open one of the boxes three and a half meters from tip to tip.

According to twentieth-century paleontologists, historically, its extinction has been attributed to the huge size of horns. “Discrepancy” Which made it especially difficult for males to escape through the forest while chasing human predators, or to have too much of a nutritional burden when the vegetation changes. In this situation, sexual selection would push the species to complete extinction. Experts now believe that the decline in forest density towards the end of the Pleistocene and the lack of high quality food led to a decline in female fertility. The ultimate death can be caused by a number of factors on both continental and regional scales, including climate change and hunting by our human ancestors.

The left lower jaw of an italic wolf

The lower jaw of the wolf was found in March
In the picture: The lower jaw of the wolf was found in March

Also near Cremona, a wolf fossil was found last month containing the left half jaw of the animal, which is still fully equipped with teeth. The find is now preserved in the San Daniel Poe Museum The in-depth chemical analyzes that it currently undertakes will provide a wealth of information about the paleoclimate, ancient climate, and its evolutionary history of our peninsula. Italic wolf (Canis lupus italicus), Our sub-species.

Other exceptional discoveries

Merck rhinoceros skull
In the picture: Merck rhinoceros skull

But paleontological results They are not limited to dry periods Waterways: In 2009 The front bone of Poush was found, A Neanderthal man, The only find of its kind in the entire Po Valley; In 2013, again on a beach in the province of Cremona, a Mork Rhinoceros (Stefanorinus kirchbergensis), A leopard tibia and a hyena sacrum in 2015 and a jaw in 2017 Cave lion.

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