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The Animals of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

Unique pieces of evidence of the geologic time reveal the history of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

The Animals of the Lesvos Petrified Forest
The Animals of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

The exhibition includes eight thematic sections:

  • Searching for terrestrial microfossils
  • The great Lake of Gavathas in NW Lesvos
  • Land and Lake Invertebrates
  • River fish
  • Lake Fish
  • Amphibia
  • Reptiles
  • Small mammals

During the exhibition, an educational program for students is implemented, in which children have the opportunity to discover fossils of micro-mammals using special stereoscopic microscopes.

The exhibition presents the results of the research of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest on the animals of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, that came to light during the Museums excavations at the area of Antissa.

Animal fossils are unique evidence of the geologic time and reveal the history of the Petrified Forest, while at the same time they are witnesses of the geological evolution of the Aegean Sea.

These animal fossils are of unique scientific value as they give new information about the ecosystem of the area 18-20 million years ago and compose the landscape of the Petrified Forest. The great importance of the finds confirms that:

  1. They are the oldest vertebrate fossils in Greece.
  2. We have new information about the migrations of these animals from their place of origin (Asia) to Europe. Lesvos - part of the Aegiis landmass - was a migration bridge for a great number of animal species.
  3. The subtropical climate that prevailed in the Aegean region at that time and the existence of a dense subtropical forest around a local large lake is confirmed.
  4. Alligator fossils are discovered for the first time in Greece.
  5. We have just started to get to know the animals that lived in the large subtropical forest of Lesvos during the Early Miocene.
  6. The Lesvos Petrified Forest is a complete ecosystem that has been preserved because it was covered by the ashes of volcanoes. A unique Natural History monument that has just begun to show us its hidden secrets.

The exhibition includes special banners, pictures and information about the animals that lived in the rich forest of Western Lesvos 19 million years ago. Alligators, hamsters, moles, insectivorous mammals, rodents and bats that flew in the night sky of the subtropical forest, but also amphibians, invertebrates and fish, that lived in large lakes, will travel the visitors in time and reveal to them the secrets of the small animals of the Petrified Forest.