Elephants, Rhinos and Hippos Once Used to Roam Greek River Valley

LARISSA, Greece — One of the thing that would sound really strange to today's Greeks would be to expect to see in the countryside elephants, hippos, and bisons, but things were not always this way according to current research – wild mammals found today in Africa and in Asia were once roaming in Thessaly, particularly near Pinios River.

According to geologist/paleontologist professor Athanassios Athanassiou and his study entitled "The Paleolithic World of Pinios", numerous fossilized remains of mammals discovered in the Pinios River basin are between 30,000 and 45,000 years old.

Athanassiou's study mentions among others fossils found in the valley that belong to relatives of modern-day elephants (Elephas antiquus), bulls (Bos primigenius, or aurochs), buffaloes (Bubalus cf. arnee), ibexes (Capra ibex), antelope (Saiga tatarica), rhinoceruses (Stephanorhinus hemitoechus), horses (Equus ferus and Equus hydruntinus), hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus sp.), deer species (Cervus sp., Dama sp. and Capreolus capreolus), as well as to the extinct "Irish deer" (Megaloceros sp.).

The first fossils of the Pinios area were unearthed in 1958 by a German archaeological mission excavation. The finds are exhibited at Thessaly's University Medical School, while many of them are also on display at the Museum of Larissa (an elephant tusk, horns of a wild ox and the skull of a deer).

Pinios's fauna belongs, according to Athanassiou's study, to the Upper Pleistocene era. This era however has a very wide range in human terms, covering a time from 180,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago.



The renowned island of Crete has been called a ‘continent in itself’ and ‘another planet’ by people amazed by the amount, variety, and significance of its cultural – and natural – riches.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — An Israeli airstrike killed 20 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting raged across the north on Sunday as Israel's leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month.

PARAMUS, NJ – There was a large turnout for the annual festival of the community of St.

DALLAS  — Former President Donald Trump urged gun owners to vote in the 2024 election as he addressed thousands of members of the National Rifle Association, which officially endorsed him just before Trump took the stage at their annual meeting in Texas on Saturday.

DALLAS  — A smiling Luka Doncic pumped his fist as he settled in next to Kyrie Irving to answer questions about the Dallas Mavericks advancing to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.