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The latest Early Pleistocene giant deer Megaloceros novocarthaginiensis n. sp. and the fallow deer Dama cf. vallonnetensis from Cueva Victoria (Murcia, Spain)

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... This study presented a phylogeny of Megaloceros with five species, including M. giganteus, M. savini and three species which were not named. Since this time, more data became available on Megaloceros and related forms and one of these species has been named (Van der Made, 2015). Moreover, the stratigraphy of the terraces of the Manzanares and nearby Jarama valleys became much better known and were dated (e.g. ...
... Van der Made and Tong (2008) noted that there were several species, recorded from Libakos, Cueva Victoria and the Madrid area, which resemble M. savini, but differing in some features. The material from Libakos has been described by Steensma (1988), but was not assigned to a species, the material from Cueva Victoria was recently named M. novocarthaginiensis (Van der Made, 2015) and the material from Madrid is described in this paper. Some recognize two genera Megaloceros for M. giganteus with antlers with a distal palmation and Praedama (= Dolichodoryceros) for M. savini with branching antlers (e.g. ...
... A phylogenetic model of the evolution of Megaloceros was proposed by Van der Made and Tong (2008). Since that time, one of the species was named (Van der Made, 2015) and further research lead to the reevaluation of some features. Titov and Shvyreva (2016) named the species Megaloceros stavropolensis based on an antler from the Georgievsk sand pit, correlated to MN17 (which corresponds to about 2.5-1.8 ...
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The Irish elk or Megaloceros giganteus is an emblematic species of the Pleistocene, but its relatives are much less known and were believed to have gone extinct when the Irish elk dispersed into Europe. The species Megaloceros matritensis n. sp. is described here on the basis of material from ten localities and levels in a terrace of the Manzanares river, South of Madrid. It must have been a common species when it lived there some 300–400 ka ago, being contemporary of M. giganteus. This species acquired features, such as enlarged premolars, very thick molar enamel, and a low mandibular condyle, which are masticatory adaptations to an, as yet, unknown diet. The species itself formed part of the diet of people which lived in the area. Megaloceros matritensis fossils are found associated to stone tools of late Acheulean and early Mousterian type. If found in other areas, this species could be indicative for this transitional period. Giant deer might be expected to be good examples of Cope's rule, which holds that species tend to evolve larger body sizes. However, M. matritensis is the last member of a lineage which gradually decreased in size during the Middle Pleistocene. Contrary to what one might expect, size decrease is not un-common in the giant deer.
... Cervus megaceros Hart, 1825 is based on the specimen from Rathcannon (Ireland) exposed in the Royal Dublin Society [40]. Cervus euryceros irlandicus Fischer, 1834 [43] is based on the specimen described by Hibbert [42] from the Isle of Man that is designated here as the lectotype of Megaloceros giganteus irlandicus (Fischer, 1834 [27,55,56], but is regarded by Vislobokova [26] as a junior synonym of M. giganteus giganteus. Hibbert [57] proposed to use the species name Cervus euryceros taken from Aldrovandi's interpretations of antique texts [58]. ...
... Cervus euryceros irlandicus Fischer, 1834 [43] is based on the specimen described by Hibbert [42] from the Isle of Man that is designated here as the lectotype of Megaloceros giganteus irlandicus (Fischer, 1834). The subspecies name M. giganteus irlandicus has been applied by van der Made [27,55,56], but is regarded by Vislobokova [26] as a junior synonym of M. giganteus giganteus. Hibbert [57] proposed to use the species name Cervus euryceros taken from Aldrovandi's interpretations of antique texts [58]. ...
... The giant deer from Sapozhok is characterized by the extremely short upper premolars (the premolar to molar series length ratio is 62.8%) and lower premolars (53.4%), thus achieving the most advanced condition of those characters among the giant deer forms ( Figure 5A). The data on giant deer from Ireland are adapted from Croitor et al. [29]; the data on giant deer from Rhine Valley are adapted from van der Made [27]; the data on giant deer metacarpals from Zhana-Aul are adapted from Kozhamkulova [67]; the data on Praedama giulii are adapted from Kahlke [68]; the data on P. novocarthaginiensis, P. matritensis and "Elaphurus" eleonorae are adapted from van der Made [56,69] and Vislobokova [70] The specimen from Sapozhok is characterized by the long robust type of metacarpals that are grouped on the scatter diagram together with the long metacarpals from Western Europe ( Figure 5B). Therefore, one can assume that the long robust metacarpals from Ireland should be ascribed to M. giganteus giganteus. ...
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The article presents a preliminary morphological description of the holotype of Mega-loceros giganteus (Blumenbach, 1799) that serves for the description of the species. The article proposes a taxonomical and morphological revision of the nominotypical subspecies M. giganteus gi-ganteus and morphological comparison with other subspecies of M. giganteus. The cluster analysis of diagnostic craniodental and antler characters revealed the systematic position and phylogenetic relationships of M. giganteus with other cervid groups. The genus Praedama is regarded as a closely related phylogenetic branch that linked to the direct cursorial forerunner of Megaloceros that evolved in the middle latitudes of Western Siberia and northern Kazakhstan. The genus Dama has a distant relationship with Megaloceros and represents an earlier phylogenetic branch that evolved in the Ponto-Mediterranean area. The article discusses the secondary adaptations of M. giganteus forms to forest and woodland habitats in Europe and general paleobiogeographic features of the Megaloceros lineage.
... Its classification in the separate genus Praedama is based on differences in antler morphology. Dolichodoryceros sues-senbornensis Kahlke, 1956, is a junior synonym (Croitor 2014;van der Made 2015). The recently described species Megaloceros novocarthaginiensis van der Made, 2015, has also Praedama morphology (van der Made 2015; Croitor 2018b). ...
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The paleontological research during the last 160 years in Greece has recovered continental deer fossils from at least 100 localities, which span geochronologically from the late Miocene to the end of the Pleistocene, while scanty dental remains date from the middle Miocene. The following species are documented: Procapreolus pentelici (late Miocene), Procapreolus cusanus, Croizetoceros ramosus, Metacervocerus rhenanus, Eucladoceros cf. ctenoides, Rucervus gigans, Praedama aff. savini, Dama vallonnetensis (late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene), Praemegaceros pliotarantoides, Praemegaceros verticornis, Alces latifrons, Megaloceros giganteus, Cervus elaphus, Dama dama, Capreolus capreolus, “Cervus” peloponnesiacus (Middle and Late Pleistocene), while several other samples are incomplete and not identifiable to the species level. Despite their comparatively scarce representation in the fossil faunas, the cervids became more common in time periods with cooler climate, like during the Late Pleistocene.
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La Cueva-Mina Victoria forma parte de un sistema cárstico de más de 3 km de longitud. Alberga un relleno Cuaternario con numerosos vertebrados, algunos descritos por primera vez. La actividad minera afectó a este enclave y permitió su descubrimiento, enriqueciendo al patrimonio natural con una historia y cultura singulares en la zona. Todo ello ha llevado a la protección legal del entorno como Bien de Interés Cultural. A pesar de esta riqueza en valores naturales y culturales, no se ha publicado, hasta la fecha, una valoración patrimonial del sitio que, de forma objetiva, exponga los criterios que aportan valor al bien y que permita un mínimo análisis o diagnóstico de los aspectos científicos más relevantes para su posterior gestión. Gracias a las ayudas económicas para la investigación e intervención del patrimonio arqueológico y paleontológico de la Región de Murcia y a la cofinanciación del Ayuntamiento de Cartagena, la Fundación Cidaris ha realizado, por primera vez, trabajos encaminados al conocimiento y gestión de los valores patrimoniales de la cueva. Se presentan los resultados del valor científico (Medio alto a Alto), discutiendo su significado y comparando los mismos con los de otros Lugares de Interés Geológico.
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The environmental conditions that existed during the period between 45 and 30 ka are of vital importance for addressing the transition between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. It seems to be a hiatus of Paleolithic populations, a “no (hu)man’s land” in Central Iberia, coinciding with the mid part of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3, between 42 and 28 cal kyr BP. This break in the archaeological record makes it difficult to address this period paleoecologically. Here we present a new cave site, Portalón del Tejadilla (Segovia), dated to a period roughly between ∼34.2 and 40.4 cal kyr BP in which cold-adapted faunas, such as woolly rhinoceros and giant deer, have been recovered in a hyena den site context. This site is located in Central Iberia, and more specifically, on the southern edge of the northern Plateau, an unexpected region for the presence of these faunas during the MIS 3. These new findings extend the geographical distribution of several species, including Coelodonta antiquitatis and Megaloceros giganteus. Furthermore, they document a climatic deterioration (colder and dryer) during the mid MIS 3 in Central Iberia in one of the coldest and driest episodes of the Late Pleistocene. Portalón del Tejadilla fills this temporal gap and provides valuable paleoecological information about the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic.
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The article presents a description of cervid remains from the Middle Pleistocene Acheulean site of Gruta da Aroeira (= Galerias Pesadas) in central Portugal. The assemblage comprises the remains of four deer species: Cervus elaphus, Praedama cf. savini, Haploidoceros mediterraneus, and Dama cf. vallonnetensis, making Gruta da Aroeira the first site in the Iberian Peninsula at which the genus Haploidoceros has been documented in the Middle Pleistocene. Virtually all the cervids documented at the site demonstrate a degree of endemism, including evolutionary modifications of skull, antlers and dentition or a reduction in body size. The unusual richness of the cervid community at Gruta da Aroeira may be related to the specific biogeographic conditions of the Middle Pleistocene in Iberia. Thus, while the Iberian Peninsula’s geographical link with the temperate west Eurasian zone facilitated the dispersal of cervids of palearctic origin into Iberia, it impeded the dispersal of ruminants from warmer, more arid areas. The endemic character of the Middle Pleistocene cervids and the biodiversity of the Iberian Peninsula should shed some light on the paleobiogeography of Iberian hominins and their role in hominin hunting or their economic strategies.
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Recent excavations at Shanshenmiaozui site in Nihewan Basin of North China uncovered a rich collection of comb-antlered deer, which includes the first discovery of the yearling antler, complete upper and lower dentitions (both deciduous and permanent), associated limb bones including the longest metapodials ever recovered. Based on toothrow length and the dental characters as well as the postcranial bones, the new fossil materials can be referred to Eucladoceros boulei that is estimated to be 350 kg and represents the largest Pleistocene cervid ever recovered in China. Besides the large size, E. boulei is also characterized by the pronounced anterior cingulids and entostylid ribs on lower molars as well as the moderately pachyostosed mandibles. The present study shows that the body weight of large cervids can be estimated by the length of toothrow and metacarpal, with exception for Cervus elaphus, which has larger toothrow length, but shorter metacarpal and smaller body size. E. boulei is a typical element of the Early Pleistocene fauna in northern China. The early Villafranchian is a bottleneck period for cervid evolution in northern China, which is characterized by the following features: decrease of cervid diversity, disappearance of archaic groups, and the rise of the medium to large-sized three-tined cervini taxa. The sudden appearance of the very large and/or multi-tined cervids at the Pliocene–Pleistocene transition may represent a great migration event of mammals. The Early Pleistocene cervids from Nihewan Basin are very diverse, and are in need of more taxonomic work.