The Early Pleistocene ectothermic vertebrates of Pietrafitta (Italy) and the last Western European occurrence of Latonia Meyer, 1843

Leonardo SORBELLI, Andrea VILLA, Sergio GENTILI, Marco CHERIN, Giorgio CARNEVALE, Emanuel TSCHOPP & Massimo DELFINO

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 20 (26) - Pages 555-583

Published on 21 June 2021

This article is a part of the thematic issue Palaeobiology and palaeobiogeography of amphibians and reptiles: An homage to Jean-Claude Rage

The Early Pleistocene site of Pietrafitta (central Italy) produced a rich vertebrate assemblage from the Late Villafranchian Land Mammal Age (late MN18). Geological and paleobotanical data from Pietrafitta indicate a lacustrine environment, surrounded by a humid deciduous broadleaved forest with a temperate climate. The vertebrate assemblage consists of at least 40 taxa including actinopterygians, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Here, we concentrate on the ichthyofaunal and herpetofaunal remains. The ichthyofauna includes Barbus Cuvier and Cloquet, 1816, Scardinius Bonaparte, 1837, aff. Squalius Cuvier, 1817, and Tinca Cuvier, 1817. The two anuran genera are the large-sized alytid frog Latonia Meyer, 1843 and the “green frog” Pelophylax Fitzinger, 1843. Three snake precloacal vertebrae were recognized, one attributed to Colubrines indet., another one to ­Natrix sp. Laurenti, 1768, and the largest and most complete vertebra is referred to the genus Vipera s.l. Laurenti, 1768 (cf. gr. “Oriental vipers”). The chelonian fossils, including some complete carapaces and plastrals, are attributed to the European pond turtle (Emys gr. Orbicularis Linnaeus, 1758) and Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni Gmelin, 1789).


Pleistocene, Villafranchian, herpetofauna, ichthyofauna, Latonia, Vipera

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