The effects of the “0.9 Ma event” on the Mediterranean ecosystems during the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition as revealed by dental wear patterns of fossil ungulates

Flavia Strani, Daniel DeMiguel, David M. Alba, Salvador Moyà-Solà, Luca Bellucci, Raffaele Sardella, Joan Madurell-Malapeira

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    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2019 Elsevier Ltd The Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (EMPT) (ca. 1.4–0.4 Ma) represents a fundamental transformation in the Earth's climate state, starting at 1.4 Ma with a progressive increase in the amplitude of climatic oscillations and the establishment of strong asymmetry in global ice volume cycles. The progressive shift from a 41kyr–100kyr orbital rhythm was followed by the first major build-up of global ice volume during MIS 24-22, the so-called “0.9 Ma event”. The Vallparadís Section (Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberian Peninsula) is one of the few Pleistocene series in Europe that spans the onset of the transition (from 1.2 to 0.6 Ma), thus representing a pivotal array of localities to investigate the effect of glacial dynamics on environmental conditions in Southern Europe. Here we inspect the effects of the EMPT on terrestrial ecosystems by examining the dietary adaptations (through dental meso- and microwear patterns) of fossil ungulates from the Vallparadís Section dated before and after the “0.9 Ma event”. Results show a steady presence of open grasslands before MIS 22 and more humid conditions at MIS 21. Both before and after MIS 22, a consistent presence of ungulates with long-term patterns that point to a grazing or grass-rich mixed feeding behaviour is observed, while noticeably, short-term patterns point to increased seasonality right after the “0.9 Ma event” glacial period. This increment of seasonality may have had an important effect on the Mediterranean habitats leading to recurring changes in the quality of plant resources available to large herbivores, which in response periodically adopted more mixed feeding behaviours widening their dietary breadth to consume also sub-optimal food items during adverse seasons.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-89
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Volume210
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

    Keywords

    • Epivillafranchian
    • Europe
    • Glaciation
    • Mesowear
    • Microwear
    • Palaeoecology
    • Palaeoenvironment
    • Pleistocene
    • Ungulates

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