Scientists from the Crimean Federal University and the Russian Academy of Sciences for the first time in Europe have found an almost complete skull of a fossil giant hyena pachycrocuta, as well as a preserved canine tooth of a saber-toothed cat, homotheria, the university's press service reported.
"The hyena, to which the skull belonged, occupies an intermediate evolutionary position between the late European hyenas and the earlier Asian ones. Thanks to new findings, we have a chance to finally determine what position the ancient hyena from the Crimea occupies on the evolutionary tree of Eurasian hyenas. reaching almost 10 cm, makes it possible to clarify the list of saber-toothed predators of Eastern Europe in the early Pleistocene (1, 8 - 0.8 million years). Usually, such fragile fossils have time to break over millions of years, and we are left with only fragments, so a whole canine is also large good luck ", - said Dmitry Gimranov, senior researcher at the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, quoted by the press service of the university.
According to him, before that, paleontologists had found in Europe only fragments of skulls and individual teeth of a fossil hyena. Earlier in Russia, only one such skull was found in Transbaikalia, and two more similar ones from China are known all over the world. Other unique specimens found this season are the partially preserved skull of an ancient lynx and the canine tooth of the Homotherium saber-toothed cat.
Paleontological work in the Tavrida cave is carried out within the framework of a cooperation agreement between the Crimean Federal University and the A.A. Borisyak RAS.