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A c. 50 m thick section located in the Crotone Basin (southern Italy) was investigated using oxygen isotopes, pollen and planktonic foraminifera. The section records two complete transgressive-regressive cycles mainly driven by glacio-eustasy. Biostratigraphy and oxygen isotope chronology indicate that the section spans from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 22 (c. 0.87 Ma) to MIS 18.3 (c. 0.73 Ma), thus straddling the Matuyama-Brunhes (M-B) boundary which occurs in the middle of MIS 19. The rich pollen assemblages provide a unique record of the vegetation in the central Mediterranean during the Early-Middle Pleistocene climatic transition. Interglacials are characterized by a mesothermic vegetation similar to the present day, whereas a rain-demanding conifer forest dominates the glacials of MIS 20 and MIS 18. This is unexpected because it is generally considered that during the Pleistocene, glacials in central Mediterranean were characterized by steppe (arid) conditions. By contrast, arid conditions occur during the deglaciations. These results are inconsistent with the widespread practice of linking glacials with arid conditions in the central Mediterranean during Pliocene and Early Pleistocene times. This study emphasizes the need to establish more accurate land-sea correlation.

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