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Publication . Article . 2011

Palaeoecology and palaeoenvironment of the Aquitanian locality Ulm-Westtangente (MN2, Lower Freshwater Molasse, Germany)

Loïc Costeur; Olivier Maridet; Stéphane Peigné; Elmar P. J. Heizmann;
Open Access
Published: 15 Dec 2011 Journal: Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, volume 131, pages 183-199 (issn: 1664-2376, eissn: 1664-2384, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

The mammalian fauna of the German locality Ulm-Westtangente from the Aquitanian Lower Freshwater Molasse is investigated. The fauna is compared to other rich European localities of the same time period. It is shown to be one of the richest localities for fossil mammals and brings interesting insights into the composition of the Aquitanian European faunas. Sixty-one species are identified and high affinities with the French central region are confirmed. Body mass distributions of insectivores, herbivores, omnivores and carnivores are analysed. Altogether, they showed that the environment at Ulm-Westtangente was probably a warm-temperate forest with grassland habitats, although temperature was still difficult to assess. Ulm-Westtangente lies between the Late Oligocene warm-temperate to subtropical conditions prevailing in Europe and the late Early to Middle Miocene very warm subtropical to tropical conditions of the Miocene Climatic Optimum. It thus represents an intermediate stage in the overall climatic evolution of the late Palaeogene–early Neogene of Europe. The comparison of its body mass distribution with a dataset of extant faunas indicates affinities with community structures found in nowadays temperate forests. However, the record of certain types of ectothermic vertebrates at Ulm-Westtangente precludes the presence of a typical temperate climate. The range of carnivore body masses is similar to what is known in extant communities, with species distributed in a restricted size range (small to middle sizes) in comparison to the insectivore/herbivore/omnivore species.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Holocene climatic optimum Carnivore Ecology Paleontology Temperate climate Neogene Paleoecology Temperate rainforest Biology Fauna Range (biology)