Paleoenvironmental inferences on the Late Miocene hominoid-bearing site of Can Llobateres (NE Iberian Peninsula): an ecometric approach based on functional dental traits

Sara G. Arranz, Isaac Casanovas i Vilar, Indrė Žliobaitė, Juan Abella, Chiara Angelone, Beatriz Azanza, Raymond L. Bernor, Omar Cirilli, Daniel DeMiguel, Marc Furió Bruno, Luca Pandolfi, Josep Maria Robles Gimenez, Israel M. Sánchez, L. W. Van Den Hoek Ostende, David M.. Alba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Hispanopithecus laietanus from the Late Miocene (9.8 Ma) of Can Llobateres 1 (CLL1; Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberian Peninsula) represents one of the latest occurrences of fossil apes in Western mainland Europe, where they are last recorded at ∼9.5 Ma. The paleoenvironment of CLL1 is thus relevant for understanding the extinction of European hominoids. To refine paleoenvironmental inferences for CLL1, we apply ecometric models based on functional crown type (FCT) variables-a scoring scheme devised to capture macroscopic functional traits of occlusal shape and wear surfaces of herbivorous large mammal molars. Paleotemperature and paleoprecipitation estimates for CLL1 are provided based on published regional regression models linking average FCT of large herbivorous mammal communities to climatic conditions. A mapping to Whittaker's present-day biome classification is also attempted based on these estimates, as well as a case-based reasoning via canonical variate analysis of FCT variables from five relevant biomes. Estimates of mean annual temperature (25 °C) and mean annual precipitation (881 mm) classify CLL1 as a tropical seasonal forest/savanna, only in partial agreement with the canonical variate analysis results, which classify CLL1 as a tropical rainforest with a higher probability. The former biome agrees better with previous inferences derived from fossil plants and mammals, as well as preliminary isotopic data. The misclassification of CLL1 as a tropical forest is attributed to the mixture of forest-adapted taxa with others adapted to more open environments, given that faunal and plant composition indicates the presence of a dense wetland/riparian forest with more open woodlands nearby. The tested FCT ecometric approaches do not provide unambiguous biome classification for CLL1. Nevertheless, our results are consistent with those from other approaches, thus suggesting that FCT variables are potentially useful to investigate paleoenvironmental changes through time and space-including those that led to the extinction of European Miocene apes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103441
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume185
Early online date17 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Fossil apes
  • Hispanopithecus
  • Functional crown types
  • Paleoecology
  • Vallesian
  • Spain

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