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Basel, Switzerland

Merceron G.,CNRS Institute of Paleoprimatology, Human Paleontoly: Evolution and Paleoenvironments | Costeur L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel | Maridet O.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Ramdarshan A.,Montpellier University | Gohlich U.B.,Geologisch palaontologische Abteilung
Journal of Human Evolution

The present study attempts to characterize the environmental conditions that prevailed along the western shores of the Central Paratethys and its hinterland during the early middle Miocene at the same time t primates reached their peak in species diversity in Central Europe. Based on faunal structure (using cenograms), paleotemperature reconstruction (using cricetid diversity), and dietary reconstruction of ruminants (using molar micro-wear analyses), four faunal assemblages are used to characterize the regional environmental context. The cenograms for Göriach and Devínska Novà Ves Zapfe's fissure site support the presence of mosaic environments with open areas under rather humid conditions. This is also supported by the dental micro-wear analyses of ruminants. The species of Palaeomerycidae were most probably the only predominant browsers. Surprisingly, the three cervids, Dicrocerus, Heteroprox, and Euprox, were highly involved in grazing. Pseudoeotragus seegrabensis was likely a generalist and the two specimens assigned to the second bovid, Eotragus clavatus, were browsers. The two species of tragulids plot between fruit browsers and generalists. Moreover, paleotemperatures based on cricetid diversity estimate mean annual temperature at about 18 °C with potential high seasonal variations. These data support the predominance of mosaic landscapes along the western shores of the Central Paratethys and its hinterland during the Miocene Climatic Optimum as primates reach a peak in species diversity. This result lends credence to the hypothesis that environmental heterogeneity favours radiation among mammals, and that the specific environmental context of the Central Paratethys western border might explain the high diversity of the middle Miocene primates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Aiglstorfer M.,University of Tubingen | Aiglstorfer M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment | Costeur L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

The locality of Dorn-Dürkheim houses the youngest record for the family Moschidae in Europe besides Micromeryx mirus from Kohfidisch (Austria; Vislobokova Paleontol J 41(4):451-460, 2007) and Hispanomeryx sp. from Puente Minero (Spain; Sánchez et al. Palaeontology 53(5):1023-1047, 2010). In describing the moschid material from Dorn-Dürkheim, we intend to update the data on the European late Miocene representatives of the family. With a nearly closed anterior valley in p4 and brachy- to mesodont (sensu Damuth and Janis Biol Rev 86(3):733-758, 2011) lower molars, the material of small ruminants from Dorn-Dürkheim shows typical features of the Miocene Moschidae that clearly distinguish them from dental remains of similar sized but more brachydont taxa, such as Lagomeryx (Rössner Palaeontogr A 277:103-112, 2006). Dimensionally, both the teeth and the postcranial material fit well within the variability of the genus Micromeryx. Morphologically, the postcranial material clearly differs from that of Hispanomeryx. Therefore, we assign the material from Dorn-Dürkheim 1 to Micromeryx sp. A brief review of the biochronologic and palaeogeographic range of the European Miocene Moschidae is given. © 2013 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Franzen J.L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

The tapirs from the late Miocene (early Turolian, MN 11) of Dorn-Dürkheim 1 are described in detail for the first time. One isolated upper premolar of Tapirus priscus Kaup, 1833 is the youngest known occurrence of that species. The bulk of tapir fossils represents the dwarf genus and species Tapiriscus pannonicus Kretzoi (Földt Közl 81:384-417, 1951). T. pannonicus was up to now only known from a few teeth from Csákvár (Hungary, MN 10/11) as well as two upper molars and one os magnum from Aubignas 1, 2 (France, MN 11, 12). In Central Europe, Tapiriscus pannonicus appears for the first time during the Vallesian (MN 9) of Melchingen (Germany, Schwäbische Alb). © 2013 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Boyer D.M.,Duke University | Boyer D.M.,City University of New York | Costeur L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel | Lipman Y.,Weizmann Institute of Science
American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Plesiadapids are extinct relatives of extant euarchontans (primates, dermopterans, and scandentians), which lived in North America and Europe during the Paleocene and Early Eocene. The only genus of plesiadapid whose species are absent from Paleocene strata is Platychoerops. Further, Platychoerops is the only group found in sediments post-dating the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (PEB) by a substantial period of time based on large samples. It is also substantially different from other plesiadapids in dental features thought to reflect ecology. Its evolution has been linked to the rapid global climate change and faunal turnover marking the PEB. Platychoerops and Plesiadapis tricuspidens have been reconstructed as members of a single lineage by some authors. We describe a specimen (right p3-m3) that we attribute to a new species, Platychoeropsantiquus, from the unequivocally Paleocene (MP6) Mouras Quarry of Mont de Berru, France. It has strong morphological affinities to Platychoerops daubrei yet co-occurs with many specimens of Plesiadapis tricuspidens, as well as the plesiadapid Chiromyoides campanicus. The existence of a species of Platychoerops prior to the PEB decouples the evolution of Platychoerops from the climate change and faunal turnover event associated with the PEB. Furthermore, the co-occurrence of Platychoerops with P. tricuspidens refutes the idea of a single lineage for these taxa. Instead, Platychoerops may be more closely related to North American Plesiadapis cookei (a previous alternate hypothesis). We suggest character displacement in a Paleocene immigrant population of P. cookei resulting from competition with sympatric P. tricuspidens, as a likely scenario for the evolution of Platychoerops. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Franzen J.L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

The fossil lagerstaette Dorn-Dürkheim (Rheinhessen, Germany) is unique in several respects. The site Dorn-Dürkheim 1 is the only Turolian locality of Germany and one of the northernmost European occurrences of late Miocene vertebrates. With the publication of this issue of Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments it becomes the best known European site of this age that represents a wooded biotope. It displays an extraordinary biodiversity of mammal taxa, comprising macro- as well as micromammals. The aim of this issue is to further complete the description of the Turolian mammal fauna. Within this context, this introduction presents a comprehensive overview of the topographic and geologic situation as well as the history of investigations of the fossil lagerstaette Dorn-Dürkheim, including the late early Pleistocene sites Dorn-Dürkheim 2 and 3. © 2013 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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