A mammalian lost world in Southwest Europe during the Late Pliocene.

Alfonso Arribas, Guiomar Garrido, César Viseras, Jesús M. Soria, Sila Pla Pueyo, José A. G. Solano, Miguel Garcés, Elisabet Beamud, José Carrión

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Background: Over the last decades, there has been an increasing interest on the chronology, distribution and mammal
taxonomy (including hominins) related with the faunal turnovers that took place around the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition
[ca. 1.8 mega-annum (Ma)] in Europe. However, these turnovers are not fully understood due to: the precarious nature of
the period’s fossil record; the ‘‘non-coexistence’’ in this record of many of the species involved; and the enormous
geographical area encompassed. This palaeontological information gap can now be in part bridged with data from the
Fonelas P-1 site (Granada, Spain), whose faunal composition and late Upper Pliocene date shed light on some of the
problems concerning the timing and geography of the dispersals.
Methodology/Principal Findings: This rich fossil site yielded 32 species of mammals, among which autochthonous species
of the European Upper Villafranchian coexist with canids (Canis), ovibovines (Praeovibos) and giraffids (Mitilanotherium)
from Asia. Typical African species, such as the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) and the bush pig (Potamochoerus) are also
Conclusions/Significance: This assemblage is taxonomically and palaeobiogeographically unique, and suggests that fewer
dispersal events than was previously thought (possibly only one close to 2.0 Ma) are responsible for the changes seen
around 1.9–1.7 Ma ago in the fauna of the two continents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9, E7127
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Vertebrate fauna
  • Guadix Basin
  • Quaternary
  • Pliocene

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