Cold-climate rodent indicators for the Late Pleistocene of Central Iberia: New data from the Buena Pinta Cave (Pinilla del Valle, Madrid Region, Spain)

César LAPLANA, Paloma SEVILLA, Hugues-Alexandre BLAIN, Mari Carmen ARRIAZA, Juan Luis ARSUAGA, Alfredo PÉREZ-GONZÁLEZ & Enrique BAQUEDANO

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 15 (6) - Pages 696-706

Published on 31 August 2016

This article is a part of the thematic issue Small vertebrates and the biochronology, biostratigraphy, and paleoecology of the Quaternary

In the Iberian Peninsula, the Late Pleistocene record of small mammal indicators of cold climates is largely restricted to two sets of sites at the eastern and western ends of the Pyrenees. Some assemblages from other sites at the Peninsular centre have, however, recently yielded such taxa. This work describes the remains of three such rodent species from the Buena Pinta Cave, a site in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains in the Spanish Central System. Excavation campaigns in the cave have taken place every summer since 2003. Thermoluminescence analyses of sediments from levels 2–5 of the site suggest an age corresponding to the middle of the Late Pleistocene, within Marine Isotope Stage 4 or the beginning of Marine Isotope Stage 3. Sieve-washing and picking out of the small fossils contained in the sediments of levels 2–5 yielded several thousand small mammal teeth and other remains, dominated by Microtus arvalis. Smaller numbers of remains belonging to other rodents typical of cold climates were also identified, such as Microtus oeconomus, Microtus gregalis and Chionomys nivalis. Thus, the small mammal record of the Buena Pinta Cave shows that rodent indicators of cold climates reached the centre of the Iberian Peninsula during the mid-Late Pleistocene, i.e., well before the Last Glacial Maximum. These findings represent one of the southernmost Pleistocene records for M. oeconomus in Europe, and the most southerly for M. gregalis.


Range shift, Biogeography, Glaciation, Taphonomy, Reworking, Iberian Peninsula

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