First occurrence of Palaeotheriidae (Perissodactyla) from the late–middle Eocene of eastern Thrace (Greece)

Grégoire MÉTAIS & Sevket SEN

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 16 (4) - Pages 382-396

Published on 31 July 2017

A detailed assessment of postcranial fossils collected at Balouk Keui (Thrace, Greece) in the mid-19th Century by the naturalist Auguste Viquesnel enabled us to identify the material as pertaining to Palaeotherium sp., cf. P. magnum, which constitutes the easternmost occurrence of the genus during the Eocene. We have constrained the geographic and stratigraphic provenance of the fossil by reassessing information about Viquesnel's itinerary and observations. Although the exact age of the fossil remains uncertain, the occurrence of a palaeothere in the Thrace Basin during the Eocene indicates a wider geographic distribution for the genus, which had previously been restricted to western and central Europe. The palaeothere of Balouk Keui confirms that the palaeogeographic range of this group included the Balkans during the middle–late Eocene. This discovery also shows that at least intermittent land connections between western Europe, Southeast Asia, and perhaps Central Iran facilitated mammalian dispersal during the middle–late Eocene, before the famous Grande Coupure.


Palaeotherium, Thrace, Middle Eocene, Paleobiogeography

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint