"We discovered the rib bones, teeth and skeleton bones of big mammals,” said Professor Harun Taskiran of Ankara University’s archaeology department.

“This year, we have discovered a giant animal’s hip bone, jaw and teeth. We believe that the 50-centimeter [20-inch] hip bone dates back approximately 350,000 years,” Taskiran, head of the excavations in Karain Cave, told Anadolu Agency.

“It’s not [scientifically] proven, but these bones may belong to an elephant, a rhinoceros or a hippopotamus. We don’t know its species; the experts will come to find out,” Taskiran said, adding that they had come across bone masses of other animals in the same area.

“As in the other cave excavations, the excavated soil is brought to the excavation house with buckets to be washed and then it passes through three different sieving methods,” Taskiran said. “Every finding, even the tiniest [remnants], provides us with access to new information about the past.”

Taskiran underlined the significance of Karain Cave excavations in uncovering the history of Antalya and Anatolia.

“Thanks to the excavations at Karain Cave, we have dated the history of Antalya to 500,000 years before. There are 500,000-year-old remnants here. Neanderthal bones of early humans have been unearthed in that cave. For this reason, this cave is really important for Turkey.”

Anadolu Agency