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Title

Stable isotope ecology of Miocene bovids from northern Greece and the ape/monkey turnover in the Balkans

Publication Year

2013

Author(s)
  • Merceron, Gildas
  • Kostopoulos, Dimitris S.
  • de Bonis, Louis
  • Fourel, Francois
  • Koufos, George D.
  • Lecuyer, Christophe
  • Martineau, Francois
Source
JOURNAL OF HUMAN EVOLUTION Volume: 65 Issue: 2 Pages: 185-198 Published: 2013
ISSN
0047-2484
Abstract

Eurasia was home to a great radiation of hominoid primates during the Miocene. All were extinct by the end of the Miocene in Western Eurasia. Here, we investigate the hypothesis of climate and vegetation changes at a local scale when the cercopithecoid Mesopithecus replaced the hominoid Ouranopithecus along the Axios River, Greece. Because they are herbivorous and were much more abundant than primates, bovids are preferred to primates to study climate change in the Balkans as a cause of hominoid extinction. By measuring carbon stable isotope ratios of bovid enamel, we conclude that Ouranopithecus and Mesopithecus both evolved in pure C-3 environments. However, the large range of delta C-13 values of apatite carbonate from bovids combined with their molar microwear and mesowear patterns preclude the presence of dense forested landscapes in northern Greece. Instead, these bovids evolved in rather open landscapes with abundant grasses in the herbaceous layer. Coldest monthly estimated temperatures were below 10 degrees C and warmest monthly temperatures rose close to or above 20 degrees C for the two time intervals. Oxygen isotope compositions of phosphate from bulk samples did not show significant differences between sites but did show between-species variation within each site. Different factors influence oxygen isotope composition in this context, including water provenience, feeding ecology, body mass, and rate of amelogenesis. We discuss this latter factor in regard to the high intra-tooth variations in delta O-18(p) reflecting important amplitudes of seasonal variations in temperature. These estimations fit with paleobotanical data and differ slightly from estimations based on climate models. This study found no significant change in climate before and after the extinction of Ouranopithecus along the Axios River. However, strong seasonal variations with relatively cold winters were indicated, conditions quite usual for extant monkeys but unusual for great apes distributed today in inter-tropical regions. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author Keyword(s)
  • Primates
  • Europe
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Carbon isotopes
  • Ruminants
  • Neogene
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • DENTAL MICROWEAR ANALYSIS
  • FOSSIL TOOTH ENAMEL
  • OURANOPITHECUS-MACEDONIENSIS PRIMATES
  • VALLESIAN LATE MIOCENE
  • OXYGEN ISOTOPES
  • DIETARY ADAPTATIONS
  • DELTA-O-18 RECORD
  • C-13/C-12 RATIOS
  • AFRICAN BOVIDAE
  • ATMOSPHERIC CO2
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Biology & Biochemistry
  • Plant & Animal Science
  • Social Sciences
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Anthropology
  • Evolutionary Biology
Adress(es)

[Merceron, Gildas; de Bonis, Louis] Univ Poitiers, CNRS, IPEPH UMR 7262, Poitiers, France; [Merceron, Gildas; Fourel, Francois; Lecuyer, Christophe; Martineau, Francois] Univ Lyon 1, ENS, CNRS, Lab Geol Lyon, F-69622 Villeurbanne, France; [Kostopoulos, Dimitris S.; Koufos, George D.] Aristotle Univ Thessaloniki, Lab Geol & Palaeontol, Thessaloniki, Greece

Reprint Adress

Merceron, G (reprint author), Univ Poitiers, CNRS, IPEPH UMR 7262, Poitiers, France.

Country(ies)
  • France
  • Greece
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Institut de paléoprimatologie, paléontologie humaine : évolution et paléoenvironnements (IPHEP), UMR7262
  • Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon : Terre, planètes et environnement (LGL-TPE), UMR5276
Accession Number
WOS:000324722600007
uid:/H1W3B8CW
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