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Title: The latest Megaceroides solilhacus from Europe at Galería, Atapuerca?
Authors: Made, Jan van der
Cáceres, Isabel
Ortega Martínez, Ana Isabel
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVII World UISPP Congress, 2014, p. 51-52
Abstract: Giant deer were a common elements in the environment of early humans and in fact, most of the time, there was more than one species. A particular species is indicated with the name Megaceroides solilhacus, while also other names, such as Praemegaceros or Megaloceros verticornis are applied. This was a large species, which has been considered to be typical for the Cromerian or early Middle Pleistocene and even to be anterior to the glaciations known as Elsterian or Anglian. This species or the lineage to which it belongs is present in various levels at Atapuerca. The latest record at Atapuerca is in level TG10a of Galería. New ESR dates for this level (Falguères et al., 2013) suggest that this may by far be the youngest Megaceroides known from Europe. These dates suggests ages around 250 ka and TG10a being correlative of stage 8. Though other dating techniques (TL and IRSL) suggest significantly older ages, the possibility of such very young ages are interesting from a biogeographic point of view. Deer of this genus are known from Europe, the Middle East and from North Africa. The North African species Megaceroides algericus is mostly or only known from the late Pleistocene and has a wide array of derived features. Though there is some discussion on its origins, it seems likely that it is a descendant of M. solilhacus. There is however, a long temporal gap between the latest M. solilhacus and the earliest M. algericus. The latest Megaceroides from Eurasia is from Petralona in Greece, Azokh in Nagorno Karabakh and from Atapuerca TG10a, which could bridge the gap between the Eurasian and African records. The appearance of Megaceroides in North Africa seems to be part of a Late Pleistocene increase of the presence of Eurasian species in North Africa. Faunal exchange between Africa and Eurasia shows an overall decreasing trend during past four million years, which is probably related to an increasing aridity in North Africa and the Middle East. Human dispersal out of Africa seems to have coincided with some moments of more intense faunal exchange. Whether this is a mere coincidence, or not, remains to be seen, but the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa coincided more or less with a renewed dispersal of Eurasian mammals, including Megaceroides, into North Africa.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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