Petralona skull covered by stalagmite
|Length||2 kilometres (1 mi)|
|Access||The Petralona Cave and Anthropological Museum|
The Petralona cave (Greek: Σπήλαιο Πετραλώνων) is located in Chalkidiki (Greece), 1 km away to the east of the eponymous village, about 35 km S-E of Thessaloniki and on the west side of Mount Katsika. Often designated as the "Petralona skull", Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis, oldest European hominid, was found there. The Anthropological Museum of Petralona on the site displays some of the finds from the cave.
The cave was accidentally discovered in 1959 by Fillipos Chatzaridis, a local shepherd looking for a spring. The Petralona skull, estimated at about 700,000 years old by A. Poulanis  and confirmed by geological analysis  [Other estimates vary widely. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v292/n5823/abs/292533a0.html for example says 200,000.], was found there in 1960 by Christos Sarrigiannidis, another local. Further research in the cave has yielded 4 isolated teeth, then two pre-human skeletons dated about 800,000 years, a great number of fossils of various species and what is considered as the oldest traces of fire known to this day.
The fossils have been at the Geology School of the Thessaloniki Aristotle University since 1960.
Fossils from numerous species have been found in the cave:
- indeterminate species
- Testudo graeca Linnaeus (spur-thighed tortoise)
- Testudo sp. (giant)
- Varanus intermedius Bolkay
- Lacerta trilineata (Betriaga) (Balkan green lizard)
- Lacerta viridis (Laurenti) (European green lizard)
- Lacerta sp. (small) (lizards)
- Ophidia indet. (snakes)
- Anser anser Linnaeus (greylag goose)
- Aythya ferina Linnaeus (common pochard)
- Fulica atra Linnaeus (eurasian coot)
- Buthierax pouliani Kretzoi (extinct species of eagle)
- Falco tinnunculus Linnaeus (common kestrel)
- Alectoris sp. (species of partridges)
- Perdix jurcsaki (Kretzoi) (a species of partridge)
- Scolopacidae indet. (family of waders or shorebirds - sandpipers, curlew, snipe and other associated species)
- Larus sp. (a genus of gulls)
- Columba oenas ssp. (stock dove)
- Columba livia ssp. (rock pigeon)
- Columba palumbus Linnaeus (common wood pigeon)
- Strix aluco Linnaeus (tawny owl)
- Glaucidium Linnaeus (pygmy owls)
- Bubo (?) sp. (horned owl and associated species)
- Corvus corax Linnaeus (common raven)
- Pyrrhocorax graculus vetus Kretzoi (alpine chough)
- Turdus sp. (a genus of true thrushes)
- Lanius minor Gmelin (lesser grey shrike)
- Prunella collaris Scopoli (alpine accentor)
- Passeriformes indet. I, II
- Erinaceus europaeus praeglacialis Brunner (preglaciation European hedgehog )
- Sorex minutus Linnaeus (Eurasian pygmy shrew)
- Sorex runtonensis (Hinton)
- Pachyura etrusca (Savi)
- Talpa minuta Freudenberg (a genus of moles)
- Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis Α. Poulianos
- Rhinolophus sp. indét. I, II
- Rhinolophus ferrumequinum topali Kretzoi (a sub-species of greater horseshoe bat)
- Rhinolophus mehelyi Matschie (Mehely's horseshoe bat)
- Rhinolophus hipposideros Bechstein (lesser horseshoe bat)
- Miniopterus schreibersii Kuhl (common bent-wing bat)
- Myotis sp. indét. I, II (genus of mouse-eared bats)
- Myotis myotis Borkhausen (greater mouse-eared bat)
- Myotis blythi oxygnathus Monticelli
- Myotis blythi ssp.
- Myotis emarginatus Geoffroy (Geoffroy's bat)
- Myotis daubentonii (Kuhl) (Daubenton's bat)
- Vespertilio murinus Linnaeus (particoloured bat)
- Hypsugo savii Bonaparte (Savi's pipistrelle)
- Eptesicus sp. (a genus of bats)
- Nyctalus noctula (Schreber) (common noctule)
- Pipistrellus (?) sp. (a genus of bats)
- Urocitellus primigenius daphnae Kretzoi (extinct species of Urocitellus or ground squirrel)
- Hystrix sp. (a genus of porcupines)
- Gliridae indet. (a genus of dormouse)
- Dryomimus eliomyoides arisi Kretzoi
- Parasminthus brevidens Kretzoi
- Spalax chalkidikae Kretzoi
- Apodemus mystacinus crescendus Kretzoi
- Mus synanthropus (Mus (Budamys) synanthropus) Kretzoi (a sub-species of Mus)
- Allocricetus bursae simplex Kretzoi (a sub-species of hamsters - see Allocricetulus)
- Lagurus transiens Janossy (a species of Lagurus - voles, lemmings, and related species)
- Eolagurus argyropuloi zazhighini Ν. Poulianos (a genus of rodents)
- Arvicola cantiana Heinrich (a species of vole)
- Microtus praeguentheri Kretzoi (a species of vole)
- Canis lupus mosbachensis Soergel (espèce préhistorique de loup)
- Cuon priscus Thenius (Early Middle Pleistocene dhole or wild dog)
- Xenocyon lycaonoides Kretzoi
- Vulpes praeglacialis Kormos (extinct species of vulpes - true fox)
- Meles meles atavus ? (Kormos) (primitive European badger)
- Ursus stehlini ? (Kretzoi)
- Ursus deningeri Reichenau
- Crocuta petralonae Kurten
- Pachycrocuta brevirostris Aymard (a sub-species of prehistoric hyenas)
- Pachycrocuta perrieri Croizet & Jobert (a sub-species of prehistoric hyenas)
- Panthera leo fossilis Reichenau (primitive cave lion)
- Panthera gombaszoegensis Kretzoi (European jaguar)
- Panthera pardus Linnaeus (leopard)
- Felis silvestris hamadryas ? (Kurten) (species of wild cat)
- Homotherium sp. (close to the sabertooth tiger)
- Elephas sp. (genus of elephants)
- Equus mosbachensis (Reichenau)
- Equus hydruntinus ssp. (European ass)
- Equus stenonis petraloniensis Tsoukala
- Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis Toula (a species of Stephanorhinus - rhinoceros)
- Sus scrofa ssp.(wild boar)
- Dama dama ssp. (Fallow deer|fallow deer)
- Cervus elaphus ssp. (red deer)
- Praemegaceros verticornis ? (Dawkins) (a genus of large deer - see Megaloceros verticornis)
- Capra ibex macedonica Sickenberg (a sub-species of alpine ibex)
- Bison schoetensacki (Freudenberg) (European wood bison)
-  Accessed 2014-09-26.
-  THE PETRALONA HOMINID SITE: URANIUM-SERIES RE-ANALYSIS OF ‘LAYER 10’CALCITE AND ASSOCIATED PALAEOMAGNETIC ANALYSES, A. G. LATHAM1 andH. P. SCHWARCZ2, Article first published online: 23 AUG 2007.
- Pre-Sapiens Man in Greece. By Aris Nickos Poulianos, Current Anthropology, vol. 22, n° 3, June 1981, pp. 287-288.
- Signals of Evolution in the Territory of Greece. Paleoanthropological Findings. By Christos Valsamis. In Intensive course in biological anthropology of the European Anthropological Association, 16–30 June 2007.
- (English) Archaeology in Greece. By H. W. Catling. In Archaeological Reports, n° 28, pp. 3-62. 1981-1982.
- Traces of fire at the Petralona Cave, the oldest known up to day, A. N. Poulianos, in Anthropos, 4: 144-146. 1977.
- New analysis of the Pleistocene carnivores from Petralona cave (Macedonia, Greece) based on the Collection of Thessaloniki Aristotle University. Par Gennady F. Baryshnikov et Evangelia Tsoukala. Dans Geobios vol. 43, issue 4, pp. 389-402. Juillet-aout 2010.
- The species of the fossilized fauna from Petralona Cave.
- The Petralona Cave and Anthropological Museum, site de l'Association Anthropological of Greece, presided by Aris Nickos Poulianos, then by his son, and which has held the concession for the exploration of the cave since the beginning of the 1960s.