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Late Miocene Vertebrate Faunas Of The Northern Caucasus (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Netherlands
ALEXEY S. TESAKOV, VADIM V. TITOV, ALEXANDRA N. SIMAKOVA, PAVEL D. FROLOV, ELENA V. SYROMYATNIKOVA, SERGEY V. KURSHAKOV, NATALIA V. VOLKOVA, YAROSLAV I. TRIKHUNKOV, MARINA V. SOTNIKOVA, SERGEY V. KRUSKOP, NIKITA V. ZELENKOV, EKATERINA M. TESAKOVA1 & DMITRY
M. PALATOV8, 2017

LATE MIOCENE (EARLY TUROLIAN) VERTEBRATE FAUNAS AND ASSOCIATED BIOTIC RECORD OF THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS: GEOLOGY, TAXONOMY, PALAEOENVIRONMENT, BIOCHRONOLOGY

FOSSIL IMPRINT • vol. 73 • 2017 • no. 3–4 • pp. 383–444

Free pdf: http://fi.nm.cz/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/09_Tesakov_et-al_2017.pdf

Abstract: Late Miocene continental deposits overlying the Khersonian marine sediments near the city of Maikop bordering the Belaya River (North Caucasus) yielded a diverse biotic record including palynology, ostracods, fresh-water and terrestrial molluscs, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals. The obtained data indicate predominantly wooded landscapes along the banks of a large fresh-water estuarine or lagoonal basin with occasional connection with the sea. The basin existed in a warm temperate to subtropical climate with a high humidity and an estimated mean annual precipitation above 800 mm. The mammalian assemblage with Hipparion spp., Alilepus sp., Paraglirulus schultzi, Eozapus intermedius, Parapodemus lugdunensis, Collimys caucasicus sp. nov., Neocricetodon cf. progressus, etc. is referable to the early Turolian, MN 11. The data regarding composition and stage of evolution of the small mammal content combined with mostly normal polarity of the fossiliferous deposits, and the age estimates of the upper Khersonian boundary as between 8.6 and 7.9 Ma indicate a plausible correlation with Chron C4n and an age range between 8.1–7.6 Ma.

Bird section:

Birds are not at all well known in the Late Miocene deposits near Maikop. The only form previously reported from the Khersonian (Late Sarmatian) deposits of the neighboring Fortepianka River is a record of the goose Anser sp. (Tarasenko et al. 2014).
In the Gaverdovsky locality, two bird remains were identifi ed: a poorly preserved partial distal radius of an owl referable to Strigidae gen. indet. similar in size and general morphology to the extant long-eared owl Asio otus; and a fragmental tarsometatarsus of a perching bird (order Passeriformes).
Three fragmentary avian bones were found in the Volchaya Balka locality, the distal part of a left tibiotarsus and two distal parts of right tarsometatarsi, belonging to perching birds (order Passeriformes) the size of modern Sylvia borin. The latter two specimens have diagnostic anatomical features and are morphologically similar to modern Sylvioidea (Alstrom et al. 2006), a taxonomically rich and globally distributed clade which includes smalland medium-sized birds with diverse ecologies. The two tarsometatarsi are closer in overall morphology to modern Old World warblers of the family Sylviidae s. s. (Text-fi g. 8), but they still display several anatomical features which preclude their assignment to any of the examined Palaearctic families (Acrocephalidae, Locustellidae, Phylloscopidae,
Sylviidae s. s., Cisticolidae, Cettidae). It is possible that warblers from Volchaya Balka represent one of the families which today inhabit sub-Saharan Africa (largely unavailable for comparisons), because several modern bird taxa characteristic of the Sahel zone (e.g., ostrich, Ortyxelos buttonquails, hornbills) were found in the Late Miocene of Europe (Mlíkovský 2002, Boev and Kovachev 2007, Zelenkov et al. 2016).
It is notable that the tarsometatrsi from Volchaya Balka are quite similar to a tarsometatarsus from the Late Miocene (MN 13) locality Polgárdi 4 (Hungary) referred to as Sylvia intermedia (Text-fi g. 8; Kessler 2013). The allocation of the tarsometatarsus from Polgárdi 4 to the modern genus Sylvia is questionable. The Hungarian specimen and bones from
Volchaya Balka apparently belong to closely related taxa whose phylogenetic position within the Sylvioidea remains unclear.

Enjoy,

Fred
 

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