15 million-year-old fossils in Bosnia car boot

Zagreb, Croatia: Guards on the Croatia-Bosnia border discovered animal fossils dating back 15 million years in the boot of a car on Wednesday, Croatian police said.

According to Drazen Japundzic of Zagreb's Natural History Museum, the remains included jawbones and teeth from ancestors of modern elephants, rhinoceroses, goats, and other extinct animals.

"These valuable fossil elements will certainly give us new scientific knowledge about the life, climate, and environment of the Earth's prehistoric past," Japundzic was quoted as saying in a police statement.

Croatian border guards confiscated hundreds of objects from the boot of a car driven from Bosnia by a 46-year-old Slovenian man almost two weeks ago, prompting the museum's experts to be called in.

The objects would be "of interest to illegal traffickers," according to police, although they did not specify if the Slovenian driver had been arrested or accused of a crime.

The fossils are thought to have originated from a mine near the town of Bugojno in central Bosnia.

The fragments, according to Japundzic, date back to the Miocene epoch, around 15 million years ago, and came from species such as Gomphotherium and Prodeinotherium, both of which were ancestors of modern elephants.

Other fragments are believed to be from rhinoceros and pig ancestors Brachypotherium and Conohyus, respectively.

According to the police statement, the fossils will be temporarily deposited at the Natural History Museum to "prevent decay."


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