You can find valuable fossils in the landfill of Catalonia

It is not common for a landfill to become a place where archaeologists find fossil remains. However, a group of archaeologists do not believe the same thing. You have been working on the Catalan landfill for many years. The landfill is located about 50 kilometers from Barcelona and there many remains of great archaeological value have been found.

Catalonia landfill
Catalonia landfill – Image by Quo
Can Mata is a valuable landfill in Catalonia for archaeologists

It is the largest landfill in Catalonia and a referendum decided to expand it from 79 to 96 hectares. The excavators work there day and night to dump the garbage from the city of Barcelona and its surroundings.

Josep Robles is a well-known archaeologist. He takes turns with 7 other of his students to check the tons of earth that the big machines move. Can Mata’s lands are of great archeological value.

Archaeologists in the landfill of Catalonia
Archaeologists at the Landfill of Catalonia – National Geographic

They are rich in fossils from the Miocene, around 12 million years old. Archaeologists have been working on the site since 2002. You belong to the Catalan Institute of Paleontology. This institute is called Miquel Crusafont and represents the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Discoveries of great archaeological value in Can Mata

Since 2002 they have already found 70,000 fossils of ancient animals. They found horses, deer, rhinos, proboscis, among other things. They also discovered the fossilized remains of a flying squirrel, which turned out to be the oldest on the planet. Also old relatives of a giant panda, rodents, birds and reptiles.

Most important, however, are the fossils of primates, which have not been found anywhere on earth. They are ancestors of gibbons, which are great apes. Their offspring were gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and, in addition, humans.

This discovery is extremely important in determining geological epochs as the hominids are believed to have originated in Africa. However, the find shows that they lived in Europe and Asia more than 12 million years ago.

Important discoveries that modify previously accepted theories

Can Mata’s discoveries can no less change beliefs about human evolution. According to the renowned National Geographic, the hominids were more dispersed than previously thought until the Can Mata finds.

However, the find in these landfill countries is not new. The first fossil of a primate was found by Miquel Crusafont in 1940. At that time, the archaeologist found the jaws and teeth of a primate from the Miocene.

Spanish Historical Heritage Law requires the company that works at the landfill to ensure that the machines do not crush the fossils while removing the earth. In this way, the company has worked with Robles and other archaeologists for many years to preserve the archaeological heritage.

One of the most important finds was the skull of Pierolapithecus Catalaunicus, which they named Pau. It is a new species of monkey, 12 million years old, and the most complete Miocene skeleton found to date.

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