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Aiglstorfer M.,University of Tubingen | Aiglstorfer M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment | Costeur L.,Naturhistorisches Museum Basel
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2013

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


Bohme M.,University of Tubingen | Bohme M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment | Vasilyan D.,University of Tubingen
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2014

In this paper, we present the ectothermic vertebrate fauna from the late Middle Miocene locality Gratkorn (Austria). In total, 2 fish, 8 amphibian and 17 reptile taxa have been described. Among them reptiles are the most abundant group. Fish remains are very rare and comprise only small-sized cyprinids (Leuciscinae indet.) and gobiids (Gobiidae indet.). Caudates are represented by a small-sized newt (Triturus sp. aff. T. vulgaris), a salamander (Salamandra sansaniensis), and a crocodile newt (Chelotriton aff. paradoxus). Anurans are documented by Rana sp., Pelophylax sp., Latonia sp., Bufotes cf. viridis, and Pelobates sanchizi. The most diverse and numerous ectothermic vertebrate group are scincomorph reptiles (lizards), of which more than 30 bones belonging to six taxa (Scincidae indet., Lacerta s.l. Sp. 1-3, Miolacerta tenuis, ?Edlartetia sp.) have been recognised. Gecko remains (Gekkonidae indet.) are rare. Anguimorphs are represented by a large monitor lizard (Varanus sp.) and a small-size species of Ophisaurus spinari. Four snake taxa are present in Gratkorn: two "small-sized colubrins" Colubrinae sp. 1 and sp. 2, a natricine (Natricinae sp.), and a cobra (Naja sp.). Turtles are represented by two aquatic turtles (Clemmydopsis turnauensis, Chelydropsis murchisonae) and two terrestrial tortoises (Testudo cf. Steinheimensis, Testudo cf. kalksburgensis). The fauna of amphibians and reptiles of Gratkorn (layer 11b) reflects a variety of habitats, relatively sparsely vegetated floodplain with sandy soils, including short-lived ponds, streams or rivulets in the close vicinity, relatively open landscapes, with a dry, semi-arid climate (MAP 486 ± 252 mm). © 2014 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


News Article | March 16, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

The diet of our prehistoric ancestors consisted of 80 percent red meat and 20 percent fruits and vegetables, two new studies revealed. The findings support the idea that at least some paleo diets, which were presumably eaten by ancient humans, relied greatly on red meat, included a few fruits, vegetables and some plant materials, and mostly excluded seafood. Led by Hervé Bocherens from the University of Tübingen, researchers from Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP) performed isotopic analysis on the skeletons of early humans from Asia and Europe. The team also looked at the diet of Stone Age Homo sapiens. "We have taken a detailed look at the Neanderthals' diet," said Bocherens. Bocherens said they were able to find out that the extinct relatives of modern humans primarily ate large herbivorous animals. He and his colleagues examined the remains of Neandarthals and animals from two excavation sites in Belgium. They contrasted the diets of prehistoric humans to the diets of woolly rhinoceroses, mammoths, reindeer, wild horses, European bison, cave hyenas, lions, bears and wolves. It was assumed that ancient humans used the same food sources as these animals, but the study revealed that all predators occupied a very specific niche. Predators preferred smaller prey, but Neanderthals specialized on plant-eaters such as mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses. Scientists have also found ancient weapons such as spears that are associated with Neanderthals. This meant the prehistoric group must have had a very organized approach to hunting large prey. While Neanderthals were meat-eaters, they also consumed vegetables, fruits and other plants. Bocherens said they were able to determine the proportion of vegetarian food in the diet of late Neanderthals. Similar findings were found from Stone Age humans, he said. Meanwhile, the team hopes that further studies could shed light on what could have led to the disappearance of Neanderthals and their way of life. Modern humans' cultural advances may have driven our prehistoric cousins to extinction, according to a previous study. In any case, it appears the Neanderthals were not starving to death based on their eating habits. "We are accumulating more and more evidence that diet was not a decisive factor in why the Neanderthals had to make room for modern humans," added Bocherens. The findings are featured in the Journal of Human Evolution and the journal Quaternary International.


Aiglstorfer M.,University of Tubingen | Aiglstorfer M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment | Rossner G.E.,SNSB Bayerische Staatssammlung fur Palaontologie und Geologie | Rossner G.E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 3 more authors.
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2014

One of the rare records of a rich ruminant fauna of late Middle Miocene age (Sarmatian sensu stricto; 12.2-12.0 Ma) was discovered at the Gratkorn locality (Styria, Austria). It comprises, besides Micromeryx flourensianus, ?Hispanomeryx sp., Euprox furcatus, Palaeomerycidae gen. et sp. indet., and Tethytragus sp., one of the oldest records of Dorcatherium naui. Gratkorn specimens of the latter species are in metric and morphologic accordance (e.g. Selenodont teeth, bicuspid p2, non-fusion of malleolus lateralis and tibia) with type material from Eppelsheim (Germany) and conspecific material from Atzelsdorf (Austria), and do not show an intermediate morphology between Late Miocene Dorcatherium naui and Middle Miocene Dorcatherium crassum, thus enforcing the clear separation of the two species. It furthermore confirms the assignation of Dorcatherium naui to a selenodont lineage (together with Dorcatherium guntianum) distinct from a bunoselenodont lineage (including Dorcatherium crassum). The record of ?Hispanomeryx sp. is the first of this genus in Central Europe. While Tethytragus sp. could also be a new bovid representative for the Sarmatian of Central Europe, Micromeryx flourensianus and Euprox furcatus are well-known taxa in the Middle Miocene of Central Europe, but comprise their first records from Styria. Morphological data from this work in combination with isotopic measurements (δ18OCO3, δ13C; Aiglstorfer et al. 2014a, this issue) indicate a niche partitioning for the ruminants from Gratkorn with subcanopy browsing (Euprox furcatus), top canopy browsing (Tethytragus sp.) and even a certain amount of frugivory (Dorcatherium naui and Micromeryx flourensianus). © 2014 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Aiglstorfer M.,University of Tubingen | Aiglstorfer M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment | Heissig K.,SNSB | Bohme M.,University of Tubingen | Bohme M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2014

Although quite rare in comparison to other large mammal groups, the Perissodactyla from Gratkorn show a diverse assemblage. Besides the three rhinocerotid species, Aceratherium sp., Brachypotherium brachypus (Lartet, 1837), and Lartetotherium sansaniense (Lartet, in Laurillard 1848), the families Chalicotheriidae and Equidae are represented by Chalicotherium goldfussi Kaup, 1833 and Anchitherium sp., respectively. The perissodactyl assemblage fits well in a late Middle Miocene (Sarmatian) riparian woodland with diverse habitats from active rivers to drier more open environments, as were present at the Gratkorn locality. © 2014 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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