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Dental microwear analysis of bovids from the Vallesian (late Miocene) of Axios Valley in Greece: reconstruction of the habitat of Ouranopithecus macedoniensis (Primates, Hominoidea)

Gildas MERCERON, Cécile BLONDEL, Laurent VIRIOT, George D. KOUFOS & Louis de BONIS

en Geodiversitas 29 (3) - Pages 421-433

Published on 28 September 2007

The environment of the hominoid Ouranopithecus macedoniensis along the Axios Valley in Northern Greece during the late Vallesian is described using the feeding preferences of fossil bovids. To reach this aim, a quantitative dental microwear analysis is applied to nine extinct bovids (87 specimens) from three localities (Ravin de la Pluie, Pentalophos, Xirochori). Throughout a principal components analysis, the fossil data are compared to the microwear pattern of herbivorous mammals, whose feeding habits are known. These 490 wild-shot adult specimens of 22 extant species of ungulates compose the “Ungulates” database. This analysis points out that the microwear pattern of the Vallesian bovids shows similarities with that of extant grazers and mixed feeders. The dietary reconstructions of these bovids then suggest environments with a rich herbaceous layer dominated by graminoids, but a low tree cover. The dental microwear results complete the faunal, ecomorphological and sedimentological data to characterize the environment of Ouranopithecus macedoniensis.

Keywords :

Primates, Hominoidea, Ouranopithecus, microwear, ungulates, paleodiet, paleoenvironment, Miocene, Greece

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