Giovanni Bianucci

Giovanni Bianucci
Università di Pisa | UNIPI · Department of Earth Sciences

PhD

About

216
Publications
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Introduction
Giovanni Bianucci currently works at the Department of Earth Sciences, Università di Pisa. Giovanni does research in Paleontology, Biogeography and Paleoclimatology. '
Additional affiliations
January 2001 - December 2006
Università di Pisa

Publications

Publications (216)
Article
Narwhals and belugas are toothed whales belonging to the Monodontidae. Belugas have a circumpolar Arctic and sub-Artic distribution while narwhals are restricted to the Atlantic Arctic. Their geographical ranges overlap during winter migrations in the Baffin Bay area (Canada/West Greenland) and successful interbreeding may occur. Here, we employed...
Article
Bioapatite of fossil bone and teeth is susceptible to alteration and ion exchange during burial and diagenesis, varying its Sr content through the geological time. Nevertheless, fossil shark teeth are a powerful proxy for both chronostratigraphic and paleoecological reconstructions, thanks to the presence of the enameloid, a hard outer layer consis...
Article
Full-text available
The East Pisco Basin is one of the forearc basins that formed during the Cenozoic along the coast of Peru due to the subduction of the Farrallon-Nazca plate beneath the South American plate. The sedimentary fi ll of this basin is extensively exposed along the coastal Ica Desert, and includes a succession of Eocene to Pliocene marine sediments that...
Article
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The Cenozoic succession of the East Pisco Basin preserves the sedimentary record of several episodes of deformation of the forearc crust along the Peruvian margin. The 1:50,000 scale geological map presented here encompasses an area of about 1,000 km2 lying astride the Ica River, and contributes to our understanding of the timing and mode of basin...
Article
Among the turtle and whale barnacles, those included in the family Platylepadidae are mostly found partly embedded in the carapace and plastron of sea turtles. As a likely consequence of their fragile shell, the fossil record of these cirripede epizoans of marine chelonians is currently limited to two occurrences of Platylepas in Pleistocene strata...
Article
The killer whale (Orcinus orca) and false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) are the only extant cetaceans that hunt other marine mammals, with pods of the former routinely preying on baleen whales >10 m in length and the latter being known to take other delphinids. Fossil evidence for the origins of this feeding behavior is wanting, although mole...
Article
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An incomplete cranium, three cervicals (including the axis) and two likely lumbars of a monodontid cetacean are here described from lower Pliocene (ca. 5.1-4.5 Ma) marine sandstones cropping out at Arcille (Grosseto Province, Tuscany, Italy). This fossil find comes from the same locality as the holotype of Casatia thermophila, which it resembles in...
Article
An almost complete and partially articulated skeleton of an Early Pleistocene baleen whale is here described. The fossil, measuring 11 m in length, was discovered in the Calcarenite di Gravina Formation at Lama Lamasinata site (Bari, southern Italy) in 1968. The bifurcated first rib combined with other characters supports the identification of the...
Article
The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens (Owen, 1846)) is a globally distributed delphinid that shows geographical differentiation in its skull morphology. We explored cranial morphological variation in a sample of 85 skulls belonging to a mixed sex population stranded in the Moray Firth, Scotland, in 1927. A three-dimensional digitizer (Micros...
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The northward-flowing Humboldt Current hosts perpetually high levels of productivity along the western coast of South America. Here, we aim to elucidate the deep-time history of this globally important ecosystem based on a detailed palaeoecological analysis of the exceptionally preserved middle–upper Miocene vertebrate assemblages of the Pisco Form...
Article
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Differing from the extant physeteroids, macroraptorial sperm whales are currently regarded as apex predators of the Miocene seas based on several morphofunctional observations. Here, we estimate the bite force of Zygophyseter varolai, a macroraptorial physeteroid from lower upper Miocene strata of the Pietra leccese formation (Apulia, Italy) using...
Article
Shark bite marks incising fragmentary ribs from a single specimen of the extinct sirenian Metaxytherium subapenninum are described from lower Pliocene shallow-water, marginal-marine (shoreface) deposits exposed at Arcille (Tuscany, Italy). Two of the bitten ribs display bite marks whose morphology matches that of juvenile teeth of the extant bluntn...
Article
The ocean sunfishes of the family Molidae comprise one of the tetraodontiform clades with the least known fossil record. Here, we report on what appears to be an isolated paraxial ossicle likely pertaining to the Molidae from a widely known marine vertebrate-bearing deposit of Southern Italy, i.e., the Miocene Pietra Leccese formation of Apulia. Th...
Article
Full-text available
The Miocene Pisco Formation, broadly exposed in the Ica Desert of southern Peru, is among the most outstanding Cenozoic marine Fossil-Lagerstätten worldwide. It is renowned for its exceptional preservation and abundance of vertebrate fossils, including a rich assemblage of whales and dolphins (Cetacea). Here, we integrate taphonomic data on 890 mar...
Article
Cetotheriids are a once diverse clade of baleen whales with a rich Miocene-Pleistocene fossil record. In the Northern Hemisphere, they are abundant along the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific and the Paratethys but - surprisingly - not the Mediterranean. Here, we describe a partial mandible from the upper Miocene Arenaria di Ponsano Formation exposed...
Article
The Eocene sediment successions of the East Pisco Basin (southern Peru) host an exceptionally rich and well-preserved assemblage of vertebrate fossils. However, due to the dearth of geochronological and biostratigraphic controls as well as of stratigraphic correlations, our understanding of these rocks and their fossil content remains elusive. This...
Article
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Among the turtle and whale barnacles (Coronuloidea: Chelonibiidae, Coronulidae, †Emersoni-idae and Platylepadidae), the members of the chelonibiid species Chelonibia testudinaria (Linnaeus, 1758) are known as epizoic barnacles that can attach to a rather wide spectrum of substrates (pri-marily sea turtles, crabs and sirenians). At present, three li...
Article
The extant blacknose shark Carcharhinus acronotus is a small-sized, tropical to warm-temperate carcharhinid shark occurring along the western Atlantic coasts from North Carolina (USA) through the Gulf and Caribbean regions to Uruguay. Here, we report on two carcharhinid teeth from lower Pliocene (4.07-3.76 Ma) strata of the Upper Onzole Formation e...
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Invertebrate taphonomy can provide significant information about the post-mortem processes that affected the fossil record. In the East Pisco Basin of southern Peru, a Panopea Ménard de la Groye, 1807 shell bed was found in the upper Miocene strata of the Pisco Formation, hinting at a peculiar biostratinomic and diagenetic history. This bed contain...
Article
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Among the many hyper-longirostrine dolphins (Odontoceti) from the Miocene, members of the family Eurhinodelphinidae bear two highly distinctive cranial features: a long and edentulous premaxillary portion of the rostrum and a mandible that is significantly shorter than the rostrum. Until now, unambiguously attributed members of this clade were only...
Article
Exquisitely preserved fossils of a new reef-building vermetid species from shallow-marine lower Miocene (Burdigalian) deposits of the Chilcatay Formation and upper Miocene (Tortonian) sediments of the Pisco Formation of Peru are here reported and described in detail for the first time. These finds are assigned to the living genus Thylacodes and rec...
Article
Fossil bones, together with teeth, are the most common remains of vertebrates that could manage to get preserved over geological times, providing information on the diagenetic and fossilization processes that occurred in the depositional paleoenvironment. Fossil bones from the marine vertebrate Konservat-Lagerstätte in the East Pisco Basin and Saca...
Article
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We report 130 vertebrate fossils preserved as bony elements and the co-occurring assemblage of fish teeth and spines from the lower strata of the Pisco Formation exposed along the western side of the lower Ica Valley (East Pisco Basin, Peru). Geological mapping at 1:10,000 scale reveals that all these fossils originate from the Langhian–Serravallia...
Article
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We report on a partial skeleton of sperm whale (Cetacea, Odontoceti, Physeteroidea) from the Pietra leccese, a Miocene limestone widely exposed in the Salento Peninsula (southern Italy). This specimen was found in Tortonian strata cropping out at the Cisterna quarry, not far from the holotype of the stem physeteroid Zygophyster varolai. The presenc...
Article
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Nowadays, the odontocete family Kogiidae is monotypic and only includes two species of diminutive relatives of the great sperm whale Physeter Linnaeus, 1758. Conversely, a growing body of extinct species indicates that kogiids were diverse and disparate during the late Neogene. The fossil record of Kogiidae is, to date, represented by several crani...
Article
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The modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter (superfamily Physeteroidea) represent highly disparate, relict members of a group of odontocetes that peaked in diversity during the middle to late Miocene. Based on a highly informative specimen (including the cranium with ear bones, mandibles, teeth and some postcranial elements) from the lower Miocene (...
Article
A recent reappraisal of two passages in Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Arundel, in which the then young Leonardo reports on visiting a cave and on some sort of ʽmarine monster’, has led to the proposition that Leonardo observed and wrote on fossil remains of a whale preserved in a cave. Whereas this hypothesis appears reasonable overall, some problems p...
Article
Full-text available
The moderately rich past diversity of the superfamily Inioidea (Cetacea, Odontoceti) in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans contrasts with the present survival of a single genus (Inia, Amazon river dolphin, family Iniidae) in freshwater deposits of South America and of a single species (Pontoporia blainvillei, franciscana, family Pontoporiidae) al...
Article
Two-mica—biotite and muscovite—volcanics are particularly rare in the geological record. One of the several dozen volcanic ash layers from Central Andes volcanoes found in the upper Miocene marine succession of the Pisco Formation (Ica Desert, Peru) contains juvenile biotite and muscovite, sillimanite/andalusite, feldspars, and rhyolitic glass. 39A...
Conference Paper
We seek to elucidate the Cenozoic history of the upwelling system off Peru-Chile, which currently forms the basis for one of the most productive fisheries in the world. To pursue this aim, we investigate the outstanding record of Eocene–Pliocene sedimentation and associated marine fossils in the East Pisco Basin of southern Peru, where the lower Mi...
Article
Full-text available
Several aspects of the fascinating evolutionary history of toothed and baleen whales (Cetacea) are still to be clarified due to the fragmentation and discontinuity (in space and time) of the fossil record. Here we open a window on the past, describing a part of the extraordinary cetacean fossil assemblage deposited in a restricted interval of time...
Article
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Modern sawfishes (Rhinopristiformes: Pristidae) are circumglobally distributed in warm waters and are common in proximal marine and even freshwater habitats. The fossil record of modern pristid genera (i.e., Pristis and Anoxypristis) dates back to the early Eocene and is mostly represented by isolated rostral spines and oral teeth, with phosphatise...
Article
Strata of Chilcatay and Pisco formations exposed in the Ica Desert (East Pisco Basin, southern Peru) preserve one of the most complete and rich records of Miocene marine vertebrates of the world. Despite its exceptional importance, the chronostratigraphy of these fossil-bearing deposits has been only sporadically studied in the literature until rec...
Article
Full-text available
The extinct family Squalodontidae consists of heterodont, medium-sized odontocetes, featuring a long rostrum that houses large, procumbent incisors and heavily ornamented postcanine teeth carrying accessory denticles, hence their vernacular name, "shark-toothed dolphins". These longirostrine toothed whales are often seen as bridging the anatomical...
Article
New age estimates obtained via Strontium Isotope (87 Sr/ 86 Sr) Stratigraphy and new paleoclimatic data are here presented for the Miocene Chilcatay and Pisco formations exposed in the East Pisco Basin, an Andean forearc basin of southern Peru, which is renowned worldwide for its exceptional content of fossil marine vertebrates. Mol-lusk and barnac...
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays, the copper shark Carcharhinus brachyurus Günther, 1870 displays an antitropical, disjunct distribution in marginal-marine environments of both the hemispheres. Differing from other species of Carcharhinus, C. brachyurus inhabits temperate rather than tropical coastal waters, and its dispersal abilities are strongly conditioned by the pres...
Poster
We present two remote sensing methods used to enhance the probability of fossil discovery in the field. The two methodologies depend on either the use of high-resolution satellite images or standard camera photos; the former procedure allows researchers to work from the office and is applicable to large tetrapods, while the latter is important duri...
Article
Lepidocyclinids are one of the most common group of Cenozoic large benthic foraminifera and, thanks to their clear evolutionary patterns, they are extensively used in biostratigraphy. They originated during the Eocene in the American region and then spread eastward, reaching a worldwide distribution in the Oligocene. This paper investigates the sou...
Article
In contrast to the suction-feeding, predominantly teuthophagous extant sperm whale, several Miocene physeteroids display proportionally larger teeth, deeply embedded in both upper and lower jaws. Together with other osteological features, these differences lead to the functional interpretation of these taxa as macroraptorial predators, using their...
Conference Paper
The East Pisco Basin is a Cenozoic forearc basin placed along the southern Peruvian coast. Its youngest sedimentary unit, the Miocene-Pliocene Pisco Formation, is famous for hosting a globally renowned marine vertebrate fossil-Lagerstätte (Gariboldi et al. 2015). Along the western side of the Ica River, the Pisco Formation is comprised of three all...
Article
Full-text available
Ethmoturbinates, nasoturbinates, and maxilloturbinates are well developed in the narial tract of land‐dwelling artiodactyls ancestral to whales, but these are greatly reduced or lost entirely in modern whales. Aegyptocetus tarfa is a semiaquatic protocetid from the middle Eocene of Egypt. Computed axial tomography scans of the skull show that A. ta...
Article
A new taxon of monodontid cetacean, Casatia thermophila, gen. et sp. nov., is here described on the basis of a partial skull from lower Pliocene (5.1–4.5 Ma) marginal-marine deposits of Tuscany (central Italy). This new taxon belongs to Monodontidae based on the presence of a medial exposure of the maxillae anterior and lateral to the external bony...
Article
Despite their long history of discoveries and research, of all the vertebrate coprolites currently known worldwide, only a very few have been explicitly recognised as exhibiting bite marks by other vertebrates. These rare specimens represent "compound ichnofossils", i.e., trace fossils (the lithified faeces) on which other trace fossils (the tooth...
Article
Full-text available
Among living cetaceans, dwarf and pygmy sperm whales (Kogia) are the only members of the family Kogiidae, regarded as diminutive and elusive relatives of the great sperm whale Physeter. Kogiids are known as fossils by several skulls, teeth, and ear bones from Neogene deposits of the Northern Hemisphere and Peru. We report on a fossil kogiid specime...
Conference Paper
The 87Sr/86Sr ratio of oceanic seawater has varied through geological time and can be used to date marine minerals and correlate stratigraphic sections of marine deposits (McArthur et al., 2012). The Miocene Chilcatay and Pisco formations exposed in the East Pisco Basin (southern Peru) are well-known for their exceptional content of fossil marine v...
Conference Paper
Tephra fingerprinting is a unique tool for reconstructing a high resolution stratigraphy (Lowe, 2011; Smith et al., 2011). In the upper Miocene succession of the Pisco Formation (East Pisco Basin, Peru) the presence of distal volcanic ashes from the Central Andes represents a great opportunity for dating and correlating stratigraphic sections at di...
Presentation
Light properties are used to recognize standardized patterns on fossils surfaces. In particular, UV light allows detection of specific characteristics, like fossilized feathers and stomach contents, while shorter wavelengths are commonly used for fossil restorations. The same concept can be applied to paleontological field surveys with the goal of...
Article
Full-text available
2019. A new beaked whale record from the upper Miocene of Menorca, Balearic Islands, based on CT-scan analysis of limestone slabs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 64 (X): xxx-xxx. The finding of significant vertebrate remains inside commercial stone blocks is relatively rare. Here we describe a fossil cetacean skull discovered inside two slabs cut fr...
Article
A new megabalanine barnacle, Austromegabalanus carrioli sp. nov., is described from lower Miocene strata of the Chilcatay Formation (East Pisco Basin, southern Peru). An assessment of the value of interlaminate figures in distinguishing species within the tribe Austromegabalanini from thin sections is provided-a useful identification tool with foss...
Article
Full-text available
Mystacodon selenensis Lambert, Martínez-Cáceres, Bianucci, Di Celma, Salas-Gismondi, Steurbaut, Urbina & Muizon, 2017 is a toothed mysticete that represents the earliest member of the suborder in the current state of knowledge. Its holotype is a relatively complete skeleton from the upper Eocene (early Priabonian, c. 36.4 Ma) Yumaque Member of the...
Poster
The extinct family Squalodontidae is comprised of heterodont, medium-sized odontocetes, featuring a long rostrum that houses large, procumbent incisors and heavily ornamented postcanine teeth, hence their vernacular name “shark‐toothed dolphins”. These longirostrine toothed whales are often seen as bridging the morphological and anatomical gap betw...
Article
Full-text available
Based on mapping of laterally traceable stratigraphic discontinuities, we propose a high-resolution allostratigraphic scheme for one of the world's foremost fossil marine vertebrate Lagerstätten: the lower Miocene strata of the Chilcatay Formation exposed along the Ica River near Zamaca, southern Peru. Measured sections combined with 1:10,000 scale...
Article
Baleen whales (Mysticeti) are major ecosystem engineers, thanks to their enormous size and bulk filter feeding strategy. Their signature gigantism is thought to be a relatively recent phenomenon, resulting from a Plio-Pleistocene mode shift in their body size evolution. Here, we report the largest whale fossil ever described: an Early Pleistocene (...
Article
Full-text available
Coronuloid barnacles are epibionts of several marine vertebrates (including cetaceans and sea turtles) as well as invertebrates, and are assigned to two families of turtle barnacles (Chelonibiidae Pilsbry, 1916 and Platylepadidae Newman & Ross, 1976) and one family of whale barnacles (Coronulidae Leach, 1817). Chelonibiids and coronulids have a sca...
Article
Cetaceans originated in south Asia more than 50 million years ago (mya), from a small quadrupedal artiodactyl ancestor [1-3]. Amphibious whales gradually dispersed westward along North Africa and arrived in North America before 41.2 mya [4]. However, fossil evidence on when, through which pathway, and under which locomotion abilities these early wh...
Article
We report on an isolated cetacean postcanine tooth that was collected close to the village of Melpignano (Lecce Province, Apulia region) from the Miocene "Pietra leccese" formation of southeastern Italy. This tooth exhibits a transversely compressed and roughly semi-circular crown featuring several large, broad-based accessory denticles that are ar...
Article
Tephra layers are a unique tool for stratigraphy. Their geologically instantaneous deposition across wide areas makes them a powerful instrument for dating and correlating distant localities. In this paper, we apply tephra fingerprinting for high-resolution stratigraphic purposes in the upper Miocene portion of the Pisco Formation, which crops out...