Fish fossil dating back 16M years found in Turkey

By Durmus Genc

MUGLA, Turkey (AA) – A fossil of a fish believed to date back some 16 million years has been discovered in western Turkey, an engineer reported on Thursday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdullah Sipahi, a certified geophysical engineer, said he found the fossil in a sedimentary rock during coal exploration in Alatepe, Milas in Turkey’s Mugla province.

Sipahi said he is examining the trace fossil, which is thought to belong to the mid-Miocene Epoch (some 11.6-16 million years ago), in the laboratory.

He added that the fossil indicates the existence of a lake in the region 14 million years ago.

Saying that sedimentary rocks in Turkey contain many fossils dating from various epochs, he said each fossil find sheds light on the prehistory of the region.

“This fish living in the lake died and after falling on the lake bed, it was covered over time as a result of sedimentation," he explained.

"Then the lake dried and the areas with fossils were exposed.”

In Milas, an important center during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras, was the capital of the Mentese Chiefdom, animal fossils dating back millions of years have come to light in the surrounding coal basins.

Murat Gul, an engineering professor at Mugla’s Sitki Kocman University, said that similar fossils were found in coal sites in the Yatagan district mineral exploration in the 1980s.