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Abstract

The end of the Early Pleistocene is intriguing particularly for mammalian palaeontologists. In Eurasia, this interval has a faunal turnover caused by both the evolution and migration of species. It is the time in which the famous end-Villafranchian 'event' takes place, a phenomenon characterized by a faunal turnover resulting mainly from the migration of larger mammals. The smaller mammal record reveals in particular an important radiation in medium-sized voles. Different Microtus species evolve rapidly from species of the genus Allophaiomys, and various lineages can be observed. This radiation finally leads to the diversity seen today.

In eastern Europe, particularly on the Russian Plain and the Taman Peninsula, a number of localities occur where faunal assemblages from well-dated stratigraphic sequences can be analysed. These assemblages show the mid-Pleistocene evolution of rodent faunas within eastern Europe. Identical and synchronous changes in the mammalian faunas are found in other parts of Europe. However, a fauna from Untermassfeld in Germany does not fit this general picture, and serious doubts about its published age must be considered.

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