Response of the European mammalian fauna to the mid-Pleistocene transition
Published:January 01, 2005
Thijs Van Kolfschoten, Anastasia K. Markova, 2005. "Response of the European mammalian fauna to the mid-Pleistocene transition", Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence, M.J. Head, P.L. Gibbard
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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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Early–Middle Pleistocene Transitions: The Land–Ocean Evidence
The Early–Middle Pleistocene transition (around 1.2 to 0.5 Ma) marks a profound shift in Earth’s climate state. Low-amplitude 41 ka climate cycles, dominating the earlier part of the Pleistocene, gave way progressively to a 100 ka rhythm of increased amplitude that characterizes our present glacial—interglacial world. This volume assesses the biotic and physical response to this transition both on land and in the oceans: indeed it examines the very nature of Quaternary climate change. Milankovitch theory, palaeoceanography using isotopes and microfossils, marine organic geochemistry, tephrochronology, the record of loess and soil deposition, terrestrial vegetationa! change, and the migration and evolution of hominins as well as other large and small mammals, are all considered. These themes combine to explore the very origins of our present biota.