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British Museum (Natural History) Catalogue of the Pontian Carnivora of Europe in the Department of Geology

Nature volume 131, pages 454455 (01 April 1933) | Download Citation



AT the time of publication of Darwin's “Origin of Species”, Prof. Albert Gaudry, of Paris, was collecting and studying a large series of remains of fossil mammals from an Upper Miocene or Lower Pliocene freshwater deposit at Pikermi, near Athens, in Greece. He soon recognised that, although the animals represented by his fossils were closely similar to those inhabiting the warmer parts of the Old World at the present day, they differed in several small respects and seemed to include some links between animals which are now very distinct, and others which might be the ancestors of our modern animals. Between 1862 and 1867 he published his results in a classic volume entitled “Animaux fossiles et géologic de l'Attique”, which was the first attempt on a large scale to describe and arrange extinct animals from the point of view of an evolutionist. Since Gaudry's pioneer work, nearly similar groups of fossil mammals have been found in Spain, Hungary, Macedonia, the Black Sea region, Persia, Mongolia, eastern China, and India; while apparently contemporaneous deposits in North America have yielded several closely allied genera and species. These mammals constitute the fauna which is now generally known as Pontian, and they include especially numerous individuals of the three-toed horse, Hipparion.

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