Historical background

Sevket SEN

en Geodiversitas 38 (2) - Pages 153-173

Published on 24 June 2016

This article is a part of the thematic issue Late Miocene mammal locality of Küçükçekmece, European Turkey

The Küçükçekmece vertebrate locality yielded a well-preserved and diverse fauna that was the first Turkish fossil assemblage to be adequately studied by its discoverers, Ahmet Malik and Hamit Nafiz (1933) at that time geology professors at Istanbul University. Indeed, the Marmara Region, where the city of Istanbul and Küçükçekmece are located, is mostly covered of Cainozoic deposits. A review of vertebrate fossil investigations in this region reveals that since the mid-1800s several scholars discovered vertebrate fossils when they explored the region during their “voyage d’étude” in search of evidence concerning the poorly known archaeological, natural and social treasures. Many well-known explorers such as Ami Boué, Auguste Viquesnel, Petr Alexandrovich Tchihatcheff, Franz Toula and later on Nicolae Arabu and Ernest Chaput undertook these “voyages d’études” and they were the first to mention the sporadic occurrence of vertebrate fossils along their itineraries. Since the study of the Küçükçekmece vertebrate fauna by Malik & Nafiz (1933a, b), many other localities have been found, but only a few of them have been the subject of detailed studies. The great extent of Cainozoic deposits in this region indicates great potential for yielding rich vertebrate faunas. In addition, this region is in the transition zone between the Mediterranean and Paratethyan marine realms, on the one hand, and is at the crossroads between the major landmasses of the Old World, on the other. This particular situation is of great interest for palaeobiogeographical research as well as for the dispersal history of many ancient organisms. However, it is also the most populated part of Turkey, and consequently natural outcrops and quarries progressively disappear, being covered by factories and settlements. It is high time that palaeontological research in this region received a new impetus.


Küçükçekmece, Marmara Region, Vertebrates, Cainozoic, history.

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