Home News Impressive fossil graveyard discovered off the Belgian coast

Impressive fossil graveyard discovered off the Belgian coast

Published on 18/08/2017

Some 45,000 years ago, during the last ice age, a colony of about a hundred walruses was living at the Belgian coast. It's the southernmost area where the animals have ever been known to have lived. Nowadays, they only live high up North.

The discovery was made not far from the port of Zeebrugge, close to a shipping lane called Scheur. The research is a joint effort by Flemish and Dutch scientists working on the Flemish research ship Simon Stevin.

The search with the vessel was initiated after some lucky findings made by fishermen. This site boasts the remains of an estimated 50 to 100 animals at least, which accounts for half of all the walrus skeletons ever found in the North Sea. 

It is the southernmost discovery place of walrus remains from the Pleistocene era. The Pleistocene covers the period between 2.58 million and 11,700 years ago. The remains off Zeebrugge are between 116,000 and 12,000 years old.

Researchers also found the remains of sea mammals, some going back 40 million years ago and maybe belonging to an unknown species, and of land animals such as a wild horse or an auroch.


Flandersnews.be / Expatica