First occurrence of the short-faced bear Agriotherium (Ursidae, Carnivora) in Italy: biochronological and palaeoenvironmental implications

Luca Bellucci (1,2,3), Italo Biddittu (2), Mauro Brilli (4), Jacopo Conti (3,5), Marco Germani (2), Francesca Giustini (4), Dawid Adam Iurino (3,5), Ilaria Mazzini (4) & Raffaele Sardella (2,3,5)
(1) Polo museale, Sapienza Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy. (2) Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana, via U. Aldrovandi 18, I-00197 Roma, Italy. (3) PaleoFactory, Sapienza Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy. (4) Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria, CNR, Area della Ricerca di Roma1, Via Salaria Km 29,300, I-00015 Monterotondo Staz., Roma, Italy. (5) Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Sapienza Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy. Corresponding author e-mail: luca.bellucci@uniroma1.it.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3301/IJG.2018.31         Pages: 124-135

Abstract

In 1981, a large mammal assemblage was recovered from a laminated travertine exposed in the region of the village of Collepardo (Frosinone, central Italy). The Collepardo mammal assemblage reported in the literature included ungulates and carnivorans. It was referred to the middle Villafranchian for its similarities with the Saint Vallier (France) faunal assemblage. Some authors suggested a slightly older age (?Montopoli FU). Up to now, only cervids were studied, whereas the other remains were never illustrated nor investigated. Since the fossiliferous site was never described in detail and its location roughly defined, a series of field surveys were carried out with the aim of better depict the continental deposit containing this large mammal assemblage. During these surveys, a block containing several mammal bones was discovered. Among them, an hemimandible of a large short-faced bear Agriotherium was found, a carnivoran never reported before from Italy and very rare in the European fossil record. Its occurrence, together with the cervid Pseudodama lyra and Sus arvernensis, suggests an Early Villafranchian age (Triversa F.U.) for the Collepardo assemblage that therefore has to be referred to the Pliocene. Finally, carbon and oxygen isotope ratios were determined to understand the palaeoenvironmental condition of the depositional system.

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