The extinct bovid Leptobos is one of the most characteristic elements of Eurasian faunal assemblages during most of the Villafranchian Land Mammal Age (i.e., from the late Pliocene to most of the early Pleistocene). Several species of this genus have been established since the end of XIX Century, but their taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships remain unclear due to the fact that most of them are described on the basis of scanty material. European species are divided into two groups or lineages. The first includes L. stenometopon, L. merlai, and the poorly known L. furtivus, the second L. etruscus and L. vallisarni. While the last two species are well documented in the Italian early Pleistocene fossil record, very little is known on the L. stenometopon-merlai-furtivus group and especially on L. merlai, whose richest sample is from the French locality of Saint Vallier. Here, we describe new material of L. merlai from the early late Villafranchian of Umbria (central Italy), including a nearly complete female cranium and a male neurocranium with horn cores. These remains constitute the best-preserved and complete sample of L. merlai in the Italian Peninsula and bring new consistency to the fossil record of this species. In addition, they serve to confirm the extension of the spatial distribution of L. merlai to the south and of the chronological distribution of this taxon from the middle to the early late Villafranchian. Finally, we offer critical remarks on some not well defined Leptobos species.
|Numero di pagine||24|
|Rivista||Journal of Mammalian Evolution|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2019|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics