The scimitar-toothed cat Machairodus aphanistus (Carnivora: Felidae) in the Vallès-Penedès Basin (NE Iberian Peninsula)


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 13 (7) - Pages 569-585

Published on 31 October 2014

Here, we revise all the published and unpublished scimitar-toothed cat remains from the Vallès-Penedès Basin (NE Iberian Peninsula), in order to confirm their taxonomic attribution to Machairodus aphanistus as well as to provide more precise information about its chronological distribution in this basin. The studied material (including dentognathic as well as postcranial remains) comes from the following localities: Can Mata indeterminate (late MN7+8 or MN9), Creu Conill 22 (MN9), Can Poncic 1 (MN9), Can Llobateres 1 (MN9), Santiga (MN9), La Tarumba 1 (MN10), Viladecavalls (MN10), Ronda Oest Sabadell ROS-D3 (MN10), and Torrent de Febulines (MN10). Most of the studied material fits well with the morphologic and metrical features characteristic of the Vallesian species M. aphanistus, with the exception of the remains from Creu Conill 22 (an undescribed partial P4 formerly attributed to this taxon), which belongs in fact to a medium-sized hyaenid. From a biostratigraphic viewpoint, the removal of the Creu Conill material from the hypodigm of M. aphanistus has important implications, because this locality (11.1 Ma) was considered to record the first appearance datum of this taxon in the Vallès-Penedès Basin. However, the report of a previously unpublished talus from Can Mata (late MN7+8 or MN9) indicates that this taxon was present in this basin at least by the earliest Vallesian. Therefore, our results indicate that the first appearance datum of Machairodus in the Vallès-Penedès Basin might be somewhat younger than previously assumed, although dating uncertainties for the Can Mata remains preclude a more precise assessment. In contrast, the new mandibular remains from ROS-D3 (MN10) are likely coeval with those from La Tarumba 1, with the last appearance datum of M. aphanistus in the Vallès-Penedès Basin corresponding to Torrent de Febulines (ca. 9.1 Ma). The postcranial material described from various Vallès-Penedès localities further indicates that M. aphanistus displayed less cursorial adaptations than its purported descendant Homotherium.


Fossil cats, Machairodontinae, Late Miocene, Vallesian, Catalonia, Spain

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