The fossil bat assemblage of Sima del Elefante Lower Red Unit (Atapuerca, Spain): First results and contribution to the palaeoenvironmental approach to the site


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 15 (6) - Pages 647-657

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

The fossil bat assemblage from the Lower Red Unit of Sima del Elefante (TELRU) in Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) has been exhaustively analysed for the first time. Bat fossil assemblages are of particular relevance to palaeoenvironmental approaches to sites. Here we integrate our new data on the chiropteran fauna with the data provided previously by other authors on the basis of the small-vertebrate assemblages and the palynology of the site. Our results are consistent with the earlier results in that they indicate a generally warmer climate than at present in the area and stable environmental conditions throughout the major part of the TELRU sequence. However, fossil bat assemblages sometimes lead to problems when they are used in landscape reconstruction. These problems are discussed here and should be taken into account in future works.


Chiroptera, Sima del Elefante, Atapuerca karst localities, Early Pleistocene, Palaeoenvironment

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