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Mammalian fauna of the Late Pleistocene from the Barsuchiy Dol Cave (Southern Urals)
Kosintsev P.A., Yakovlev A.G., Plasteeva N.A., Gimranov D.O.
P. 180-191
The study describes mammalian fauna from Barsuchiy Dol cave in the Southern Urals, Russia. The accumulation of faunal remains in the cave deposits occurred due to natural processes. The remains from layers 1–4 were disturbed by fossorial activities of badgers. The faunal assemblage from these layers contain mixed remains of Pleistocene and Holocene age. The faunal assemblage from the layer 5 was excavated from in situ deposits. The of taxonomic composition and representation of skeletal element indicate that bone remains were accumulated in the layer 5 as digging activities of a badger (Meles meles), and natural death of larger (Ursus kanivets) and smaller (Ursus rossicus) cave bears during hibernation. The mammalian fauna from Barsuchiy Dol included typical species of the mammoth complex, as well as the mole (Talpa europaea), desman (Desmana moschata), red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Malayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura), forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), European mink (Mustela lutreola), European badger (M. meles), lynx (Lynx lynx), and Merck’s rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis). The remains of steppe (Ochotona, Spermophilus, Lagurus, Allocricetulus, Cricetulus and Eolagurus) and “tundra-steppe” (Lasiopodomys gregalis) species comprise about 50% of the small mammal fauna. The remains of relatively thermophilic (Dryomys, Hystrix), mesophilic (Cricetus) and “forest” (Sciurus, Apodemus, Clethrionomys, Microtus agrestis) species account for about 40% of the assemblage. The taxonomic composition and ecological structure of the fauna evidence interglacial conditions. The chronological position of the fauna was determined based on the analysis of the enamel differentiation quotient (SDQ) and the size of the m1 of the water vole (Arvicola spp.). The SDQ values in voles from layer 5 are close to the values observed in voles from Eastern European and Ural localities dated to the end of OIS6 and OIS5-2. The length of the tooth in voles from Barsuchiy Dol cave is similar to that in the voles from the OIS5-2 sites. Based on the data on evolutionary morphology of Arvicola and taxonomic composition of fossil assemblage, the fauna from layer 5 was dated to the OIS 5e (Mikulino, Tabulda, Streletsk, Kazantsevo, and Eemian) interglacial.

DOI: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.21.2.09


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