A Mammalian Lost World in Southwest Europe during the Late Pliocene

Alfonso Arribas, Guiomar Garrido, César Viseras, Jesús M. Soria, Sila Pla Pueyo, Jose G. Solano, Miguel Garces, Elisabet Beamud, Jose S. Carrion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Over the last decades, there has been an increasing interest on the chronology, distribution and mammal taxonomy (including hominins) related with the faunal turnovers that took place around the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition [ca. 1.8 mega-annum (Ma)] in Europe. However, these turnovers are not fully understood due to: the precarious nature of the period's fossil record; the "non-coexistence'' in this record of many of the species involved; and the enormous geographical area encompassed. This palaeontological information gap can now be in part bridged with data from the Fonelas P-1 site (Granada, Spain), whose faunal composition and late Upper Pliocene date shed light on some of the problems concerning the timing and geography of the dispersals.

Methodology/Principal Findings: This rich fossil site yielded 32 species of mammals, among which autochthonous species of the European Upper Villafranchian coexist with canids (Canis), ovibovines (Praeovibos) and giraffids (Mitilanotherium) from Asia. Typical African species, such as the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) and the bush pig (Potamochoerus) are also present.

Conclusions/Significance: This assemblage is taxonomically and palaeobiogeographically unique, and suggests that fewer dispersal events than was previously thought (possibly only one close to 2.0 Ma) are responsible for the changes seen around 1.9-1.7 Ma ago in the fauna of the two continents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7127
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2009

Keywords

  • LOWER PLEISTOCENE SITE
  • GUADIX-BAZA BASIN
  • FONELAS P-1
  • BETIC CORDILLERA
  • SPAIN
  • DISPERSAL
  • GRANADA
  • RECONSTRUCTION
  • ASSEMBLAGE
  • EVOLUTION

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