Mikael Fortelius

Mikael Fortelius
University of Helsinki | HY · Department of Geosciences and Geography

PhD

About

246
Publications
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Publications

Publications (246)
Article
Palynological investigations in the Orce Archaeological Zone (OAZ) (Guadix-Baza Basin, Granada, Spain), Venta Micena 1 (VM1), Barranco León (BL) and Fuente Nueva 3 (FN3) are presented. This archaeological region is connected with the first Homo populations in Western Eurasia during the Early Pleistocene. The VM1 pollen record is characterized by Ep...
Article
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Little is known about the subsistence practices of the first European settlers, mainly due to the shortage of archaeological sites in Europe older than a million years. This article contributes to the knowledge of the subsistence of the first Europeans with new zooarchaeology and taphonomic data from the Palaeolithic site of Barranco León (Orce, Gr...
Conference Paper
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The Early Pleistocene dispersal of Homo out of Africa is a highly studied and debated topic. One of the controversies centres on the question of what type of environments hominin species expanded out of Africa into. We conducted a literature review of 163 papers published since 2000 studying the environmental settings of the first Out of Africa exp...
Article
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New mammal species have always been a source of major zoological intrigue, and whilst discoveries of large mammals are becoming less frequent, species like the saola and dingiso continue to enter the zoological literature. Modern communities are often assumed to be complete and are used for constructing community-level models. One example is ecomet...
Article
A species factory refers to the source that gives rise to an exceptionally large number of species. However, what is it exactly: a place, a time or a combination of places, times and environmental conditions, remains unclear. Here we search for species factories computationally, for which we develop statistical approaches to detect origination, ext...
Article
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Over the last few decades, several types of evidence such as presence of hominin remains, lithic assemblages, and bones with anthropogenic surface modifications have demonstrated that early human communities inhabited the European subcontinent prior to the Jaramillo Subchron (1.07–0.98 Ma). While most studies have focused primarily on early Europea...
Chapter
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Pastoralism is a globally -important livelihood, with large social, environmental and economic importance across much of our planet. Yet, it is also a vulnerable practice with widespread crises, urgently calling for better systemic understanding. The current disciplinary compartmentalization of research not only hampers this but allows perpetuation...
Article
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The Guadix-Baza Basin (GBB) in Andalucía, Spain, comprises palaeontological and archaeological sites dating from the Early Pliocene to the Middle Pleistocene, including some of the earliest sites with evidence for the presence of early humans (Homo sp.) in Europe. Thus, the history of climate and environments in this basin contributes significantly...
Article
We know that the fossil record is incomplete. But how incomplete? Here we very coarsely estimate the completeness of the mammalian record in the Miocene, assuming that the duration of a mammalian species is about 1 Myr and the species diversity has stayed constant and is structurally comparable to the taxonomic diversity today. The overall complete...
Article
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Nearly five decades ago Berggren and Van Couvering proposed an Old World “Hipparion Datum” wherein a North American Hipparion extended its range across Eurasia and Africa as an “instantaneous prochoresis” populating the Old World. Four decades ago Woodburne and Bernor examined European and North African hipparion assemblages and proposed a number o...
Article
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Venta Micena is an area containing several palaeontological sites marking the beginning of the Calabrian stage (Early Pleistocene). The richness of the fossil accumulation including species of Asian, African and European origin, makes Venta Micena a key site for the the palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental study of southern Europe during the Ea...
Article
Pastoralism is globally significant in social, environmental, and economic terms. However, it experiences crises rooted in misconceptions and poor interdisciplinary understanding, while being largely overlooked in international sustainability forums and agendas. Here, we propose a transdisciplinary research approach to understand pastoralist transi...
Article
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Here we report a Hipparion fauna locality discovered in between two basalt layers near Hanjiaying Village, Jining District, Wulanchabu City, Nei Mongol. K-Ar isotopic dating of the lower and upper level of the basalt constrains the age of the fauna from 7.2 to 6.8 Ma. Compared with classical Hipparion fauna from northern China, the Hanjiaying fauna...
Article
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The writings of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) provide a window on early evolutionary thinking of a kind interestingly different from the roots of modern evolutionary theory as it emerged in the years following the French Revolution. Here we relate aspects of Leibniz’s thinking to methods of modern palaeoecology and show that, despite a diff...
Article
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The Red Queen's hypothesis portrays evolution as a never-ending competition for expansive energy, where one species’ gain is another species’ loss. The Red Queen is neutral with respect to body size, implying that neither small nor large species have a universal competitive advantage. Here we ask whether, and if so how, the Red Queen's hypothesis r...
Article
The Early Pleistocene sites of Barranco León and Fuente Nueva 3 (Guadix-Baza Basin, SE Spain) have yielded abundant Oldowan lithic artifacts and one hominin tooth (Homo sp. in level D1 or D2 of Barranco León), today considered to be among the earliest evidence for a hominin presence in Western Europe, at ca. 1.4–1.2 Ma. Here, for the first time, th...
Article
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En este trabajo se resumen los estudios llevados a cabo en los distintos yacimientos arqueopa-leontológicos de Orce durante las últimas décadas, haciendo especial hincapié en los resultados obtenidos a raíz de las últimas campañas de excavación (2017-2020), enmarcadas en el Proyecto General de Investigación «Primeras ocupaciones humanas y contexto...
Article
Two separate subfamilies of Plio-Pleistocene African pigs (suids) consecutively evolved hypsodont and horizodont molars with flat occlusal surfaces, commonly interpreted as an adaptive trait to a grazing diet, similar to that of the present warthogs (Phacochoerus spp.). To investigate this in detail, we studied the 3D-dental topography of fossil sp...
Article
Aim The links between geo‐ and biodiversity, postulated by Humboldt, can now be made quantitative. Species are adapted to their environments and interact with their environments by having pertinent functional traits. We aim to improve global ecometric models using functional traits for estimating palaeoclimate and apply models to Pleistocene fauna...
Article
Correspondence to https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0695-z
Preprint
Full-text available
The Red Queen's hypothesis portrays evolution as a never-ending competition for expansive energy, where one species' gain is another species' loss. The Red Queen is neutral with respect to body size, implying that neither small nor large species have a universal competitive advantage. The maximum population growth in ecology; however, clearly depen...
Article
Full-text available
A new study by Fraser et al (2018) urges the use of phylogenetic comparative methods, whenever possible, in analyses of mammalian tooth wear. We are concerned about this for two reasons. First, this recommendation may mislead the research community into thinking that phylogenetic signal is an artifact of some sort rather than a fundamental outcome...
Article
Background: The dental characteristics of large plant-eating mammals, such as hypsodonty, quite accurately describe present and past climatic conditions worldwide. However, several peculiar regions give systematically higher predictions of primary productivity than the local average environmental conditions should support. We call these 'anomalies'...
Article
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Despite much interest in the ecology and origins of the extensive grassland ecosystems of the modern world, the biogeographic relationships of savannah palaeobiomes of Africa, India and mainland Eurasia have remained unclear. Here we assemble the most recent data from the Neogene mammal fossil record in order to map the biogeographic development of...
Article
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In the version of this Article originally published, each of the five panels in Fig. 5 incorrectly contained a black diagonal line across the plot. This has now been corrected.
Article
As organisms are adapted to their environments, assemblages of taxa can be used to describe environments in the present and in the past. Here, we use a data mining method, namely redescription mining, to discover and analyze patterns of association between large herbivorous mammals and their environments via their functional traits. We focus on fun...
Article
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In the fossil record, taxa exhibit a regular pattern of waxing and waning of occupancy, range or diversity between their origin and extinction. This pattern appears to contradict the law of constant extinction, which states that the probability of extinction in a given taxon is independent of that taxon's age. It is nevertheless well established fo...
Article
How food intake and mastication scale to satisfy the metabolic needs of mammals has been the subject of considerable scientific debate. Existing theory suggests that the negative allometric scaling of metabolic rate with body mass is compensated by a matching allometric scaling of the chewing rate. Why empirical studies have found that the scaling...
Article
Eight years of excavation work by the Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project (OGAP) has produced a rich vertebrate fauna from several sites within Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Study of these as well as recently re-organized collections from Mary Leakey's 1972 HWK EE excavations here provides a synthetic view of the faunal community of Ol...
Article
Aim: (1) Survey and organize computational approaches to fossil data analysis into a methodological framework. (2) Highlight the kinds of research questions about evolutionary and environmental change that can be answered by applying computational algorithms to mammal fossil data to better understand past ecosystems and climates. Questions: What mo...
Article
Most suids (Mammalia: Suidae, pigs) worldwide are omnivores living in closed environments, but the African warthog (Phacochoerus) has special adaptations for grazing in open environments. Similar specializations have been recorded from Plio-Pleistocene African suids. Four genera, Nyanzachoerus, Notochoerus, Kolpochoerus, and Metridiochoerus, have b...
Article
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Over the past five decades, fossil deposits within the Upper Burgi, KBS and Okote members at East Turkana in northern Kenya have provided many important insights into hominin behavior and ecology during a critical period in hominin evolution between 2.0 and 1.4 Ma. In this study, we use a large compilation of faunal abundance data from paleontologi...
Article
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BACKGROUND: The pace and magnitude of human-caused global change has accelerated dramatically over the past 50 years, overwhelming the capacity of many ecosystems and species to maintain themselves as they have under the more stable conditions that prevailed for at least 11,000 years. The next few decades threaten even more rapid transformations be...
Article
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Question: Is it either necessary or useful to separate ecological and evolutionary factors as determinants of biodiversity pathways? Organisms: The fossil record of 58 extinct marine invertebrate groups belonging to six different animal phyla, ranging from the early Palaeozoic to the early Cenozoic, and including a total of 21,554 species. Methods:...
Article
More than half a century ago, Percy Butler touted the importance of analyzing teeth to understand their function in an evolutionary context. There have been many advances in the study of dental functional morphology since that time. Here we review the various approaches to characterizing and comparing occlusal form that have been developed, especia...
Article
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A major focus in evolutionary biology is to understand how the evolution of organisms relates to changes in their physical environment. In the terrestrial realm, the interrelationships among climate, vegetation, and herbivores lie at the heart of this question. Here we introduce and test a scoring scheme for functional traits present on the worn su...
Article
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Animal clades tend to follow a predictable path of waxing and waning during their existence, regardless of their total species richness or geographic coverage. Clades begin small and undifferentiated, then expand to a peak in diversity and range, only to shift into a rarely broken decline towards extinction. While this trajectory is now well docume...
Article
Pumice beds of the Maragheh Formation, which is distributed on the plains at the foot of the late Cenozoic Sahand volcano, NW Iran, consist of the Mordaq tuff bed, lower pumice beds (A and B), middle pumice bed and upper pumice bed, in ascending order. New hornblende and plagioclase K–Ar ages of the pumices from these are: Mordaq tuff bed: 8.14± 0....
Article
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Ungulate diets may vary following differences in vegetation, and their body size is affected by a complex set of ecological and physiological variables. Here we analyse Middle and Late Pleistocene British and German ungulate palaeocommunities to test whether there are significant correlations of diet and body size of ungulate species with vegetatio...
Article
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After a long period of inactivity, recent excavations at the late Miocene Maragheh Formation unexpectedly resulted in the discovery of the first fossil hominoid and second Mesopithecus remains from this area. The discovery motivated a new international initiative to conduct research in these rich fossil sites. These studies focused on the fossil ho...
Article
The Maragheh Formation is an important deposit, which yields the savanna-type large mammal assemblage known as the “Pikermian Fauna.” Our high-resolution facies analysis of the interval between the Lower Pumice and the White Tuff demonstrated that debris-flow deposits and paleosols are dominant in the studied sequence. Fluvial channel-fill and smal...
Article
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Maragheh in northwestern of Iran is a world famous Miocene fossil-bearing area. The area has yielded classical late Miocene Turolian age fauna that has been collected and studied sporadically over the last 150 years. However, the precise correlation of these sediments to the Global Time Scale (GTS) has remained ambiguous. To address this, 115 level...
Article
Different diets wear teeth in different ways and generate distinguishable wear and microwear patterns that have long been the basis of palaeodiet reconstructions. Little experimental research has been performed to study them together. Here, we show that an artificial mechanical masticator, a chewing machine, occluding real horse teeth in continuous...
Article
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Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma...
Article
Miocene hominoid fossils are known from Africa and Eurasia, in the latter ranging widely from western Europe to Anatolia and from South Asia to Southeast/East Asia. Iran is located between the known western and eastern Eurasian hominoid distributions and is potentially important in understanding Miocene hominoid dispersal patterns. Maragheh is a la...
Article
Abstract We discuss a proboscidean bone fragment discovered in southern Finland, including the morphological analysis of the bone, as well as pollen and diatom analyses from sediment contained in the marrow cavity. Preliminary analysis of the bone suggested petrification and thus an apparently old age, while the microfossil assemblages include num...
Article
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Ouranopithecus turkae, from the late Miocene of Çorakyerler in Central Anatolia, is considered one of the last known occurrences of great ape in the eastern Mediterranean. The Çorakyerler fauna has previously been correlated with MN 11 to early MN 12 on the basis of biochronology, and its faunal composition has been found to contrast with those fro...
Article
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The path of species diversification is commonly observed by inspecting the fossil record. Yet, how species diversity changes at geological timescales relate to lower-level processes remains poorly understood. Here we use mathematical models of spatially structured populations to show that natural selection and gradual environmental change give rise...
Article
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Luxuriant, bushy antlers, bizarre crests, and huge, twisting horns and tusks are conventionally understood as products of sexual selection. This view stems from both direct observation and from the empirical finding that the size of these structures grows faster than body size (i.e., ornament size shows positive allometry).We contend that the famil...
Article
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Dietary analyses of herbivorous mammals are important for paleoecological reconstruction. Several methods applicable to fossil teeth have been developed lately. The mesowear method based on wear-induced occlusal shape and relief of ungulate molars has proven to be a robust method for dietary analysis. In its original form it can only be used for se...
Article
Modern Asian winter monsoon characterised by the strong northwesterly wind in East Asia and northeasterly wind in South Asia, has a great impact on the surface temperature of the Asian continent. Its outbreak can result in significant cooling of the monsoon region. However, it is still unclear whether such an impact existed and is detectable in the...
Article
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Conference Paper
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North American Cormohipparion extended its range into the Old World 11.5 Ma. Hipparion first appearances are locally recorded at 11.5 Ma in Central Europe, 10.7 Ma in the Siwalik and Turkey, and 10.5 Ma in North and East Africa. Hippotherium is the earliest definable lineage and evolved very slowly in Central Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. O...
Conference Paper
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The late Miocene brought about the aridification of most of the Mediterranean environments. Nevertheless, the Vallès-Penedès basin (Catalonia, Spain), escaped this harshening and held humid and forest-adapted faunas until around 9.6 Ma. By combining large datasets of macro- (817 localities and 99 genera) and micromammals (456 localities and 107 gen...
Article
Although scientists typically regard their work as finished with publication in an academic journal, in fact that is just the beginning if the goal is to help society solve problems. This is particularly true for the environmental sciences, in which a generation of scientists has documented that five interacting human impacts are causing undesirabl...
Article
Although patterns of tooth wear are crucial in palaeo-reconstructions, and dental wear abnormalities are important in veterinary medicine, experimental investigations on the relationship between diet abrasiveness and tooth wear are rare. Here, we investigated the effect of four different pelleted diets of increasing abrasiveness (due to both intern...
Article
Full-text available
The relative weights of physical forcing and biotic interaction as drivers of evolutionary change have been debated in evolutionary theory. The recent finding that species, genera, clades, and chronofaunas all appear to exhibit a symmetrical pattern of waxing and waning lends support to the view that biotic interactions shape the history of life. Y...