Fossil findings from the Sicak Cermik fissure ridge-type travertines and possible hominid tracks, Sivas, Central Turkey
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Sicak Cermik (Sivas) is an important geothermal and recent travertine formation area in Central Anatolia. The majority of travertines found in the region comprise fissure-ridge type travertines according to morphological classification. At the location called Tepe Cermik within the travertine area, fill containing fossil bone fragments of Equus sp., Bovidae and other abundant animals formed within the fracture axis of a N-S striking fissure-ridge travertine developed under control of tectonic forces. The finds of these fossils in fissure-ridge travertines linked to tectonic forces indicates formation of a unique fossil environment created under the control of these forces. The Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Radiocarbon Dating analyses of fossils from the study area determined the fills were older than 43,000 years. The U/Th age of a sample from the most recently-formed banded travertine in the axis of the fracture was identified as 278,540 +/- 18,436 years. As a result, the ages of fossils found within this fill are thought to be between 43,000 and 278,540 +/- 18,436 years old. The high amount of perissodactyla and artiodactyla fossils found within fill in the axis of the fissure-ridge travertine probably indicates the presence of hominids who chose the region for hunting or settlement. The Equus sp. and Bovidae fossil samples found in the axis of the fracture indicate that in the dry and cold glacial period the paleogeography in a large portion of Anatolia comprised desert-like steppe.