New data on the taxonomy of the endemic Myomiminae (Gliridae, Rodentia) from the Late Miocene-Early Pliocene of Gargano (southern Italy) with the description of the new species Stertomys degiulii

Federico Masini, Paolo Maria Rinaldi

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14 Citazioni (Scopus)


The Late Miocene-Early Pliocene “Terre Rosse” vertebrate assemblages, found in the palaeokarst fissure fillings ofthe Apricena-Poggio Imperiale limestone quarries (North-Western side of the Gargano promontory, southern Italy), document a verylong and complex history of endemic populations of a palaeoarchipelago. That history developed in at least four populating phases,which are characterised by changes in faunal diversity and include taxa with different degree of endemism. They have been subject ofseveral studies since the beginning of the 1970s and deserve a particular attention for their evolutionary and palaeogeographicalimplications. The sampling of the “Terre Rosse” fissure fillings was carried on during successive field surveys from the Leiden Museum(1969-74) and from the Florence University (1980s). Until now, however, the two resulting collections have always been studiedseparately by different authors: this work is the first partial attempt to integrate the information derived from the two collections. Abiochronological framework is proposed integrating the chronological succession of samples by Freudenthal in the scheme elaboratedby De Giuli et al. However, some uncertainty remains in the details of the position of some fissure, in particular Rinascita 1.After the pioneering description of the gigantic dormouse Stertomys laticrestatus Daams & Freudenthal 1985, the interest in the systematicof the Neogene Gargano glirids renewed just in the very last years. Four species have been recently described: Stertomys daunius Freudenthal& Martín-Suárez 2006, Stertomys daamsi Freudenthal & Martín-Suárez 2006, Stertomys lyrifer Martín-Suárez & Freudenthal 2007, andStertomys simplex Martín-Suárez & Freudenthal 2007.In the present work the description of Stertomys from eleven further fissure fillings, documenting most of the whole succession of endemicpopulation phases, is presented and discussed. The samples, for a total amount of 1696 dental elements, have been described by basicstatistical parameter of measurements and frequency distribution of Daams’ and Rinaldi’s morphotypes. Where necessary, the differencesamong samples have been statistically tested (t-test and chi-square test).Seven taxa have been identified: S. daunius, S. laticrestatus, S. aff. laticrestatus, S. ex gr. daamsi, Stertomys degiulii nov. sp., S. cf.degiulii and S. aff. degiulii. In the fissure F15 S. ex gr. daamsi has the same size as S. daamsi from its type-locality Biancone 1, but a slightlymore complex morphology in the upper molars. In Trefossi 1, F21b, Cantatore 3A and Fina D, S. ex gr. daamsi shows a rather similarmorphology as in F15, but it is clearly smaller in size. S. degiulii, from F1, F9 (type-locality) and San Giovannino is distinctly smaller than daamsi and presents a higher frequency of the connection of the trigon crests with the metaloph in the upper molars. S. aff. degiulii from F32is slightly larger in size and shows a higher frequency of connection of the anterolophid with the protoconid in the lower molars. S. cf. degiuliifrom Pirro 11A is intermediate in morphology between S. degiulii and S. aff. degiulii.The results of the analysis of the Stertomys species occurring in each fissure filling confirm the outline of the proposed biochronologicalframework and permit some improvement of the definition of the populating phases of the Gargano palaeoisland. Besides, they confirm thepresence of some problems in arranging the details of the fissure succession of the oldest phase. Such uncertainties are possibly due to thefrequent faunal exchanges
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)189-233
Numero di pagine44
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009

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