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Rome, Italy

In order to study the adaptive significance of the nasal chamber in felids (Mammalia, Carnivora), we measured the nasal aperture area and used it as an indirect estimate of the nasal chamber volume. We assume that this measurement relates to the metabolic demands for oxygen by animals, which in turn would depend on their mass, hunting techniques and/or the environment inhabited. The proven relationship between nasal aperture area and body size among living felids was used to estimate the mass and different aspects of the paleobiology of nine extinct felids from the New and Old World, six of the subfamily Machairodontinae and three of the subfamily Felinae. Results obtained confirm that the North American lion and the Eurasian cave lion were both comparable in size, with a body about 25% heavier than in today's lions. The large nasal apertures of smilodontines suggest that, compared to extant felids with skulls of similar length, these ambushing saber-tooth cats had a more robust body and thus greater oxygen demands. In contrast, coursing homotherines had longer skulls, narrower palates and a more lightened body than other saber-tooth cats. © 2010. Source

Sardella R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Petrucci M.,IsIPU
Quaternary International | Year: 2012

Hyaenas are relevant members of the Plio-Pleistocene carnivore guilds in Africa and Eurasia. The spotted hyena . Crocuta crocuta is an important element of the dispersal events from Africa and Asia to Europe occurred at the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition (about 0.8. Ma). The presence of . Crocuta crocuta remains from the Ponte Galeria formation at Casal Selce (Roma, Italy) from sands of the Ponte Galeria Formation referable to the earliest Middle Pleistocene (MIS 18), close to the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary, is one of the earliest occurrence of the genus in Europe. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source

Rubini M.,Servizio di Antropologia S.B.A.L. | Rubini M.,University of Foggia | Cerroni V.,Servizio di Antropologia S.B.A.L. | Festa G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2014

The Fontana Ranuccio hominin teeth (FR, Latium, Italy) are dated to the Middle Pleistocene. In previous studies these teeth were classified as two lower (left and right) second molars, one lower left central incisor and a badly worn incisor crown, the exact position of which could not be determined. In 2012 these remains were acquired by the Anthropological Service of S.B.A.L. (Italian Ministry of Culture) and for this reason re-analysed. In a thorough revision we have reassessed them both morphologically and dimensionally as two lower (left and right) first molars, one lower left lateral incisor and a possible upper left canine. The comparison with penecontemporaneous and diachronic samples shows that the Fontana Ranuccio teeth are morphologically similar to Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos, Arago XIII and Neanderthal samples. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Petrucci M.,IsIPU | Sardella R.,IsIPU | Sardella R.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Bollettino della Societa Paleontologica Italiana | Year: 2012

The aim of this work is to review the Middle-Late Pleistocene fossil remains of the genus Cuon Hodgson, 1838 from Italy. The geographical distribution of hypercarnivorous canids belonging to the genus Cuon is presently restricted to Southeastern Asia, whereas during the Pleistocene occurrences are documented in Eurasia and North America. Due to the fragmentary nature of the fossil record of this genus, resolution of many aspects of its origins, phyletic relationships, and evolutionary trends prove difficult. In the Italian Peninsula the occurrence of this canid has been reported from several sites of Middle-Late Pleistocene age. However, the latter have rarely been accompanied by descriptions of the material. This paper presents an update of the Italian record of the genus Cuon, description of the material from these different sites and includes unpublished data related to new localities. It represents a starting point for a broader review of the Mediterranean Plio-Pleistocene hypercarnivorous canids. Source

Iurino D.A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Fico R.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana | Petrucci M.,IsIPU | Sardella R.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2013

Evidence of diseases on vertebrate fossil bones can provide detailed information on many aspects of extinct animals. This study focused on pathological craniodental remains (left maxilla and dentary) referred to the canid Cuon alpinus unearthed from a Late Pleistocene karst filling deposit at San Sidero (Apulia, southern Italy). These fossils show clear evidence of a chronic periodontitis that caused the animal's death. Clinical diagnosis of the disease and the timing of its development have been defined on the basis of a veterinary odontostomatology approach, in addition to radiographic and tomographic techniques. From the initiation of the infection until death, a time span of at least 6 months occurred, and three main steps have been defined: (1) the bacterial infections of the buccal cavity turning into severe periodontitis, (2) the fracture of the lower carnassial and (3) the loss of teeth due to the worsening infection that deformed and/or eroded maxillary and mandibular bones and enlarged alveoli. The analysis of the palaeopathology also provides information about the biomechanics of the bite, on the feeding behaviour and on the relationships of injured members in a pack of Late Pleistocene canids. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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