The Italian territory occupies a strategic position in the Mediterranean area, which represents a crossroads between Northwestern Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and North Africa. The tectonic and volcanic activity during the Quaternary produced a heterogeneous physiography, with the presence of several natural physical barriers, such as the Alps and Apennines chains. The mountain ranges represent the main ecological barriers, respectively towards continental Europe and along the peninsula, affecting the distribution of mammal fauna. Furthermore, the latitudinal extension of Italian territory causes a strong climatic gradient and produces regional differences in the climatic conditions, especially during the Glacial Stages (Sala et al., 1992; Gliozzi et al., 1997; Bedetti et al., 2001; Sala & Masini, 2007). During the late Quaternary, the faunal assemblages were characterized by a strong regionalism, related to the presence of different dispersal paths and local environmental conditions (Masini et al., 1991; Sala et al., 1992, Gliozzi et al., 1997; Bedetti et al., 2001; Petronio et al., 2007; Sala & Masini, 2007). The Apulian region is located in the southern part of the Italian Peninsula, extending mainly along the latitudinal axis (130 km), and only 30 km along the longitudinal axis. Based on its peripheral position and physiography, some authors considered the occurrence in the Apulian peninsula of a refugium area during the Late Pleistocene, due to supposed archaic nature of the vertebrate fauna (Di Stefano et al., 1992). On the contrary, other authors suggested that these mammal faunal associations could be chronologically referred to the late Middle Pleistocene (Masini et al., 1991; Sala et al., 1992). Nowadays, there are only two fossiliferous sites attributed to Middle Pleistocene both from the Murge area (central part of the Apulia region): Contrada Monticelli (Mazza & Varola, 1999; Mecozzi et al., 2017) and Grotta di Lamalunga (Tagliacozzo, 1995; Lari et al., 2015; Fiore et al, 2018). Many vertebrate assemblages from Late Pleistocene deposits of Apulia have been reported in previous researches; these sites are mainly represented by ossiferous breccias, karst infilling deposits and caves. The first includes fossil remains highly cemented with the matrix rock and their extraction or even their observations is often very difficult. However, the scattered outcrops of ossiferous breccias are characterized by the occurrence of the large mammals, such as Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Stephanorhinus hemitoechus and Hippopotamus amphibius, with a welldocumented presence of Dama dama, which have been referred to the early Late Pleistocene (MIS5c-5a) (MIS = Marine Oxygen Stage) (Di Stefano et al., 1992). The second typology of deposit is represented by sub-vertical or funnel-shaped karst fissures, especially in the Salentine Peninsula (southern part of the region) where several quarries are open for the extraction of a Miocene calcarenite, known as Pietra Leccese. During the Middle-Late Pleistocene, the calcarenite was affected by an intense karst activity that formed an articulated fissured network (Selleri et al., 2003; Selleri, 2007). These karst fissures outcrop mainly in the fossiliferous area of Maglie (Lecce, Apulia) (locally known as “ventarole”) and are filled with red soil (so-called “terre rosse”) in the lower part, and brownish soil (so-called “terre brune”) in the upper (Di Stefano et al.,1992; Bologna et al.,1994; Pandolfi et al., 2017). The “ventarole” deposits are rich in vertebrate fossil remains, generally in a good state of preservation and articulated bones often occur (Bologna et al.,1994; Iurino et al., 2015). Due to the fragmentary stratigraphic and geomorphological evidence, the ossiferous breccias and the “ventarole” deposits are mainly dated biochronologically based on the large vertebrate faunal assemblages they contain (Di Stefano et al., 1992; Bologna et al., 1994). In this territory, especially in the Salentine Peninsula, many caves open into the step coastline or are submerged beneath the present sea level. Many of the caves contain remarkable archive of palaeontological, archaeological and palaeoclimatic data, thus testifying the human presence from the Middle Palaeolithic to Neolithic (e.g., Grotta del Cavallo, Grotta del Diavolo, Grotta di Santa Maria di Agnano). Among these, Grotta Romanelli is considered a key site for the Mediterranean Quaternary for its archaeological and palaeontological heritage, since the beginning of the XX century. Although the cave was discovered in 1874 by Botti, the excavation activity was performed for the first time by Stasi at the end of 1800s. Immediately, the specialists recognized the remarkable importance of the site as the first evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic in the Italian peninsula and the first record of the rock art in the Euro-Mediterranean area (Graziosi 1973; Sardella et al. 2018; Sigari 2018). The aim of this work is to carry out the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the continental ecosystem and to define the biochronological and palaeobiogeographical context of the mammal fauna from the Apulian Peninsula during the Middle-Late Pleistocene. The taxonomic and palaeobiological study will allow to determine the mammal assemblages, and to broaden the knowledges of dispersals and adaptations of the mammal taxa during the glacial/interglacial stages occurred in the Middle to Late Pleistocene. To achieve the aims of this work, the following points have been carried out: - The study of new fossil materials of mammals coming from several Middle-Late Pleistocene fossiliferous sites of the Apulian region (e.g., Grotta Romanelli, Cava Spagnulo, San Sidero); - The revision of the fossil collections previously published, where often only the faunal lists were reported (e.g., Grotta Zinzulusa, Grotta dei Giganti); - The comparison of the composition of the mammal faunas from late Middle-Late Pleistocene fossiliferous sites of the Apulian region; - In order to test the variability in teeth size and/or proportions during the last 350 ky, statistical analyses on several mammal taxa were conducted.
Le faune a mammiferi del Pleistocene Medio-Superiore della Puglia: biocronologia, paleoecologia, paleobiogeografia / Mecozzi, Beniamino. - (2019 Feb 13).
|Titolo:||Le faune a mammiferi del Pleistocene Medio-Superiore della Puglia: biocronologia, paleoecologia, paleobiogeografia|
|Data di discussione:||13-feb-2019|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||07a Tesi di Dottorato|