Paleontology

The exhibition is dedicated to the fossils of large mammals, few molluscs, corals, trace fossils and plants that exemplify the history of paleontology and are valuable witnesses of the Earth's past. A part is dedicated to fossils on display are also specimens of molluscan and other fossil invertebrates such as  of the various geological eras:

 from Cambrian Cruziana trace fossil one of the first evidence of life of the Earth (541-485 million years) up to the Pleistocene corals (2.58-0.012 millions of years ago). 

The evolution of the plant is also documented by our well preserved paleobotanical stems collection. 

 Sivatherium sp. (African Girrafid)

Their origins thus lie in the origins of artiodactyl ruminants. The evolutionary line from the first ruminant to modern giraffe is, however, tortuous and far from obvious, but there is general agreement amongst the main interpreters of the palaeontological and biochemical evidence (Irwin et al., 1991) that ruminant origins can be traced back to an artiodactyl fauna that had its origins in the late Palaeocene and became recognisable in the early Eocene some 50 million years ago (Mya). 

Loxadonta africana (African Bush Elephant)

The oldest proboscidea form is known from the Eocene in Uganda (Tassy, 1995). The most complete documentation of this form comes from El-Fayum, Egypt which has been identified as Moeritherium; a primitive form of Probocidea. In the Neogene, transitional forms between Moeritheria and the nearly elephant-sized mastodons appeared. They have been reported from northern Africa, Europe and Eastern Asia. The mastodons developed during the Paleogene-Neogene into elephant-sized Proboscidea, which spread in America during the glaciations, and become extinct worldwide at the end of the glaciations. At the beginning of the glaciations, new forms of Proboscidea coexisted with the older ones, as cold-adapted animals; they occupied a larger region than did the mastodons did in the Northern Hemisphere (Lori, 2002). These glaciation-elephants (Mammoth) have died out during the Holocene (Current Era).

The African elephants, geologically speaking being the older species than the Asiatic species are both derived from one origin (Archidiskodon-like species). The African elephant inhabited all of sub-Saharan Africa except for the desert and desert-steppe areas.

Hippopotamus amphibious

The studies show that Epirigenys forms a kind of evolutionary transition between the oldest known hippo in the fossil record (about 20 million years ago) and anmanthracothere lineage. This position in the tree of life is compatible with the genetic data,confirming that the cetaceans are the hippos’ closest  living cousins. Indeed, analysis of Epirigenys (28 million years old) has linked today's hippos to a lineage of anthracotheres, the oldest of which date back about 40 million years. However, until now, the earliest known ancestor of the hippos was about 20 million years old.

Crocodylus niloticus 

Dyrosauridae are known from the Maastrichtian up to the Eocene (Buffetaut, 1978c). The presence of Hyposaurus is even more unexpected since practically all previously known representatives of this genus, whether from Africa, Asia, South America or North America, came from marine and estuarine deposits (Denton et al., 1997).

In Africa strongly supports previous paleobiogeographic hypotheses for an African origin of Dyrosauridae (Jouve et al., 2005b, 2008). Buffetaut (1981a) proposed an African origin and argued for Tethyan dispersal both east and west for the family emanating from Africa.

 

 

 

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