Greece stands out for its rich natural and cultural heritage. Although geological heritage is a rather new concept, the paleontological excavations in Charkadio Cave, dating back since 1971, have revealed findings of the last European Elephants that inhabited Tilos Island 45.000 - 4.000 years ago. The extinction of Elephas tiliensis allows us to refer to the last dwarf European elephants that inhabited Mediterranean islands.
The aim of the current project is the recreation and exhibition of this unique natural treasure, with the use of state-of-the-art methods and technologies: Collection Digitizing, Computed Tomography, Laser Scan, CAD, Reconstruction, Allometry/Mathematical Study, Lightweight analyzed support frame and Rapid Prototypes that have never before been used in such an interdisciplinary way for the field of Palaeontology in Greece. The scientific teams involved, aim at the full reconstruction of these mammals, when the bones found at excavations, are not adequate or of the same animal for a complete recreation, since they originate from more than fifty different individuals and none of them were found whole or in anatomical arrangement.
For the first time in Greek Palaeontology, a unified method will be developed for dealing with an extinct species and will be applied in the Laboratories of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), exploiting state of the art methodology and the fossil treasure of the Museum of Palaeontology and Geology (NKUA), along with the Biology Dept. and Medicine School of UPATRAS. The synthetic reconstruction along with all the work phases starting from the excavations will be exhibited at the Museum of Palaeontology and Geology of NKUA, where Team Leader 2 is Director, and on several other locations such as the NTUA Campus, Lesvos and finally at the new Museum of the Island of Tilos, near the actual excavation site and the natural habitat of those unique animals.
Mechanimal WebSite: http://rplab.mech.ntua.gr/thalis