The Villafranchian fossil record of Perissodactyla is of a great interest because the appearance of the genus Equus and disappearance of the genus Tapirus mark important faunal turnovers. Here, we provide new data on Italian Villafranchian Tapiridae, Rhinocerotidae, and Equidae with updates from the last comprehensive review; most relevant are those of the Rhinocerotidae and Equidae. At present only two Villafranchian rhinoceros’ species are documented in Italy: Stephanorhinus jeanvireti and Stephanorhinus etruscus. The two species can be distinguished by several morphological features and by the dimensions of their bones. Stephanorhinus etruscus occurred throughout the Villafranchian; despite the numerous records, its remains are not enough to investigate morphometric trends. The Equidae include seven species including new occurrences of Hipparionine horses and of the genus Equus. The statistical analyses performed on the Equus species show two different evolutionary trends, namely the stenonine lineage “Equus livenzovensis - Equus stenonis” and the small-to-medium-sized lineage “Equus senenzensis - Equus stehlini”, suggesting a different evolution of these species. Moreover, the analyses show close relationships between the Italian Equus stenonis samples and three European Equus stenonis subspecies (E. stenonis vireti, E. stenonis guthi, and E. stenonis pueblensis). We begin to reconsider the validity of E. stenonis subspecies identification in order to provide new perspectives on the taxonomy of this species.

The Villafranchian perissodactyls of Italy: knowledge of the fossil record and future research perspectives

Pandolfi L.;
2020

Abstract

The Villafranchian fossil record of Perissodactyla is of a great interest because the appearance of the genus Equus and disappearance of the genus Tapirus mark important faunal turnovers. Here, we provide new data on Italian Villafranchian Tapiridae, Rhinocerotidae, and Equidae with updates from the last comprehensive review; most relevant are those of the Rhinocerotidae and Equidae. At present only two Villafranchian rhinoceros’ species are documented in Italy: Stephanorhinus jeanvireti and Stephanorhinus etruscus. The two species can be distinguished by several morphological features and by the dimensions of their bones. Stephanorhinus etruscus occurred throughout the Villafranchian; despite the numerous records, its remains are not enough to investigate morphometric trends. The Equidae include seven species including new occurrences of Hipparionine horses and of the genus Equus. The statistical analyses performed on the Equus species show two different evolutionary trends, namely the stenonine lineage “Equus livenzovensis - Equus stenonis” and the small-to-medium-sized lineage “Equus senenzensis - Equus stehlini”, suggesting a different evolution of these species. Moreover, the analyses show close relationships between the Italian Equus stenonis samples and three European Equus stenonis subspecies (E. stenonis vireti, E. stenonis guthi, and E. stenonis pueblensis). We begin to reconsider the validity of E. stenonis subspecies identification in order to provide new perspectives on the taxonomy of this species.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/157913
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