A new elephant fossil from the late Pleistocene of Alghero: The puzzling question of Sardinian dwarf elephants

Maria-Rita PALOMBO, Marco ZEDDA & Rita Teresa MELIS

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 16 (8) - Pages 841-849

Published on 31 December 2017

Endemic elephants, variously reduced in size, have been reported from a number of Mediterranean islands. Most of these originated from the mainland species Palaeoloxodon antiquus . A few dwarf mammoth remains are recorded from Crete and Sardinia. In Sardinia, a largely incomplete skeleton and a few mammoth teeth have been reported from localities believed to range in age from the late middle to the late Pleistocene. The chronology of colonisation by the ancestral species, the actual persistence through time of Mammuthus lamarmorai on the island, and the morphological and dimensional range of the species are, however, poorly known. This research aims to describe a distal portion of a left tibia of a dwarf elephant found in the Alghero area (NW Sardinia), showing some morphological traits and dimensions consistent with those of the endemic Sardinian mammoth (Mammuthus lamarmorai). The main unanswered questions about chronology, colonisation and population dynamics of endemic Sardinian elephants are highlighted and briefly discussed.


Mammuthus, Sardinia, Dispersal, Chronology, Pleistocene

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