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Quaternary, Volume 1, Issue 2 (September 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Quaternary records usually involve complex environmental–landscape–human relationships, but they [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial Quaternary Highlights (July–September 2018)
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020018
Received: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 17 September 2018
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Abstract
Editorial summaries of selected papers relevant to Quaternary science published in high-impact multidisciplinary journals between 1 July and 10 September 2018. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle A Description of Two New Species of the Genus Rucervus (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the Early Pleistocene of Southeast Europe, with Comments on Hominin and South Asian Ruminants Dispersals
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020017
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
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Abstract
The article attests the presence of the genus Rucervus in the paleontological record of Europe and presents the description of new species of large-sized deer Rucervus radulescui sp. nov. from the Early Pleistocene of Valea Grăunceanului (Southern Romania) and Rucervus gigans sp. nov.
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The article attests the presence of the genus Rucervus in the paleontological record of Europe and presents the description of new species of large-sized deer Rucervus radulescui sp. nov. from the Early Pleistocene of Valea Grăunceanului (Southern Romania) and Rucervus gigans sp. nov. from the late Early Pleistocene of Apollonia-1 (Greece). The described cervid species represent two different evolutionary radiations of Rucervus that are grouped into the extinct subgenus Arvernoceros that represents the northern evolutionary radiation and the nominotypical subgenus that is regarded as the southern evolutionary radiation and represented today by only one species Rucervus duvaucelii. The evolutionary radiation and dispersals of Rucervus are regarded in the paleobiogeographic context of faunal exchanges between southeastern Europe, Caucasus, and Near East during the Early Pleistocene and the westward dispersal of early hominins in Eurasia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Episodic Sedimentary Evolution of an Alluvial Fan (Huangshui Catchment, NE Tibetan Plateau)
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020016
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Alluvial-fan successions record changes in hydrological processes and environments that may reflect tectonic activity, climate conditions and changes, intrinsic geomorphic changes, or combinations of these factors. Here, we focus on the evolution of a stream-dominated fan in a tectonic depression of the Xining
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Alluvial-fan successions record changes in hydrological processes and environments that may reflect tectonic activity, climate conditions and changes, intrinsic geomorphic changes, or combinations of these factors. Here, we focus on the evolution of a stream-dominated fan in a tectonic depression of the Xining basin of China, laid down under a semi-arid climate in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau (NETP). The fan succession is composed of three facies associations, from bottom to top: (1) matrix to clast-supported, poorly sorted, planar cross-stratified to crudely stratified sheets of coarse-grained sediments; (2) horizontal laminated sand, laminated layers of reddish fine silt and yellow coarse silt with stacked mounds of sand; and (3) clay-rich deposits with incipient paleosols. The succession shows rapid sediment aggradation from high-energy to low-energy alluvial fans and finally to a floodplain. The dating results using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) method show that a gravelly, high-energy fan was deposited during MIS 6, after which a low-energy fan, mainly composed of sand and silt, was deposited and finally covered by flood loam during the MIS 6–5 transition and the warmer last interglacial. Stacked sand mounds are interpreted from their sediment structure and grain-size distribution as shrub-coppice dunes in low-energy fan deposits. They may be considered as a response to the interaction of alluvial and aeolian processes in a semi-arid environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special External Effects on Fluvial System Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle Anatomy, Age and Origin of an Intramontane Top Basin Surface (Sorbas Basin, Betic Cordillera, SE Spain)
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020015
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
Collisional mountain belts commonly develop intramontane basins from mechanical and isostatic subsidence during orogenic development. These frequently display a relict top surface, evidencing a change interval from basin infilling to erosion often via capture or overspill. Such surfaces provide markers that inform on
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Collisional mountain belts commonly develop intramontane basins from mechanical and isostatic subsidence during orogenic development. These frequently display a relict top surface, evidencing a change interval from basin infilling to erosion often via capture or overspill. Such surfaces provide markers that inform on orogenic growth patterns via climate and base level interplay. Here, we describe the top surface from the Sorbas Basin, a key intramontane basin within the Betic Cordillera (SE Spain). The surface is fragmentary comprising high elevation hilltops and discontinuous ridges developed onto the variably deformed final basin infill outcrop (Gochar Formation). We reconstruct surface configuration using DEM interpolation and apply 10Be/26Al cosmonuclides to assess surface formation timing. The surface is a degraded Early Pleistocene erosional pediment developed via autogenic switching of alluvial fan streams under stable dryland climate and base level conditions. Base-level lowering since the Middle Pleistocene focused headwards incision up interfan drainages, culminating in fan head capture and fan morphological preservation within the abandoned surface. Post abandonment erosion has lowered the basin surface by 31 m (average) and removed ~5.95 km3 of fill. Regional basin comparisons reveal a phase of Early Pleistocene surface formation, marking landscape stability following the most recent Pliocene-Early Pleistocene mountain building. Post-surface erosion rate quantification is low and in accordance with 10Be denudation rates typical of the low uplift Betic Cordillera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special External Effects on Fluvial System Evolution)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Specifying the External Impact on Fluvial Lowland Evolution: The Last Glacial Tisza (Tisa) Catchment in Hungary and Serbia
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020014
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
External impact on the development of fluvial systems is generally exerted by changes in sea level, climate and tectonic movements. In this study, it is shown that a regional to local differentiation of fluvial response may be caused by semi-direct effects of climate
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External impact on the development of fluvial systems is generally exerted by changes in sea level, climate and tectonic movements. In this study, it is shown that a regional to local differentiation of fluvial response may be caused by semi-direct effects of climate change and tectonic movement; for example, vegetation cover, frozen soil, snow cover and longitudinal gradient. Such semi-direct effects may be responsible for specific fluvial activity resulting in specific drainage patterns, sedimentation series and erosion–accumulation rates. These conclusions are exemplified by the study of the fluvial archives of the Tis(z)a catchment in the Pannonian Basin in Hungary and Serbia from the middle of the last glacial to the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Previous investigations in that catchment are supplemented here by new geomorphological–sedimentological data and OSL-dating. Specific characteristics of this catchment in comparison with other regions are the preponderance of meandering systems during the last glacial and the presence of very large meanders in given time intervals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special External Effects on Fluvial System Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle The Paradise Lost of Milia (Grevena, Greece; Late Pliocene, Early Villafranchian, MN15/MN16a): Faunal Composition and Diversity
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020013
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: Over the last decades, important fossil records of Late Pliocene mammals and reptiles have been unearthed in Milia, Grevena (N Greece). This assemblage shows a remarkable composition and diversity, including the partial skeletons of mastodons that reached record-breaking sizes, abundant rhinos—the
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(1) Background: Over the last decades, important fossil records of Late Pliocene mammals and reptiles have been unearthed in Milia, Grevena (N Greece). This assemblage shows a remarkable composition and diversity, including the partial skeletons of mastodons that reached record-breaking sizes, abundant rhinos—the first occurrence of this species in Greece—and some new species; (2) Methods: We perform a thorough quantitative analysis of the recovered assemblage, presenting the information of the various collection spots in Milia, and calculate various biodiversity indices for each spot; (3) Results: Our research has revealed the vast majority of expected taxa in the assemblage. We argue that the various sub-localities in Milia could be grouped into a larger, composite assemblage representing a short period. We analyze the diversity changes through the various localities in Milia and highlight potential barriers that could affect the distribution of taxa; (4) Conclusions: We re-affirm the Early Villafranchian affinities of the fauna. In particular, Milia should date at MN16a, with a surprising presence of some more archaic, Ruscinian taxa. The fossils of Milia depict a Late Pliocene paradise in the Southern Balkans; a paradise, unfortunately, lost with the onset of the dramatic climate changes of the Quaternary. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Villafranchian Hipparion-Bearing Mammal Fauna from Sésklo (E. Thessaly, Greece): Implications for the Question of Hipparion–Equus Sympatry in Europe
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020012
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Recently collected fossil material in the Villafranchian locality of Sésklo, as well as a re-evaluation of a pre-existing, partly-published museum collection, allow the recognition of a lower faunal level in the locality, older than the main Equus-dominated fossil assemblage, dated in the
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Recently collected fossil material in the Villafranchian locality of Sésklo, as well as a re-evaluation of a pre-existing, partly-published museum collection, allow the recognition of a lower faunal level in the locality, older than the main Equus-dominated fossil assemblage, dated in the Early Pleistocene (MNQ17). The lower level yielded, instead, an advanced hipparion, referred to the species Plesiohipparion cf. shanxiense, and a small number of associated taxa: an ostrich (Struthio cf. chersonensis), an unidentified proboscidean, the pig Sus arvernensis, two antelopes (Gazella cf. bouvrainae and Gazellospira torticornis), a large bovid (Bovini indet.), and a rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus sp.). The lower-level fauna is dated in the latest Pliocene (MN16) and indicates a rather open and dry palaeoenvironment. The faunal sequence in Sésklo shows that the hipparion did not co-occur with the stenonid horse, at least in this region. Previous reports on sympatry of these taxa may result from faunal mixing, requiring re-examination of the available samples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mammoths, Deer, and a Dog: Fossil and (Sub) Recent Allochthonous Remains from the Northeastern Croatia (Podravina Region), with the First Radiocarbon Dating of the Croatian Woolly Mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius)
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020011
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 22 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Eight anatomically and taxonomically different finds are presented in this paper, and they belong to four taxa: woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), and dog (Canis familiaris). All specimens
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Eight anatomically and taxonomically different finds are presented in this paper, and they belong to four taxa: woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), and dog (Canis familiaris). All specimens represent allochthonous Late Pleistocene and Holocene animal remains, and all were dredged during the gravel exploitation at the Sekuline site near Molve (Podravina region, SW Pannonian basin, NE Croatia). Mammoth remains (bone and tusk fragments) were radiocarbon dated, and these are the first absolute dates on mammoths in Croatia. One upper last left deciduous premolar (dP4 sin.) also belongs to the same species. Ascribed to a dog is one well-preserved skull with a peculiar abscess scar on the maxillary bone as the result of an inflammatory process on the carnassial (P4) premolar. The Late Pleistocene cervid remains are giant deer, while the other cervid finds were determined to be red deer of the Holocene age. Morphometrical and taphonomical data are presented for each specimen. Such fossil and recent bone/tooth aggregates are characteristic of fluvial deposits and selective collecting. Although lacking stratigraphic provenance, these finds help to fulfil the gaps in palaeoenvironmental, palaeoecological, and palaeoclimate reconstructions of Podravina and its neighbouring areas. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary Strong Fuzzy EHLFS: A General Conceptual Framework to Address Past Records of Environmental, Ecological and Cultural Change
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020010
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Although the interpretation of Quaternary records of interrelated environmental–ecological–human processes is necessarily complex, it is often addressed using too-simple deterministic approaches. This paper suggests a holistic framework called EHLFS (Environmental–Human–Landscape Feedbacks and Synergies) to tackle Quaternary complexity. The EHLFS scheme is a multiple-working-hypotheses
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Although the interpretation of Quaternary records of interrelated environmental–ecological–human processes is necessarily complex, it is often addressed using too-simple deterministic approaches. This paper suggests a holistic framework called EHLFS (Environmental–Human–Landscape Feedbacks and Synergies) to tackle Quaternary complexity. The EHLFS scheme is a multiple-working-hypotheses framework, able to account for the particular nature of Quaternary research, and is used in combination with the strong inference method of hypothesis testing. The resulting system is called the strong fuzzy EHLFS approach. This approach is explained in some detail and compared with the more extended simplistic determinisms—namely the environmental determinism and the human determinism—as well as with dual determinisms or deterministic approaches based on two contrasting and apparently contradictory and excluding hypotheses or theories. The application of the strong EHLFS methodology is illustrated using the Late Holocene ecological and cultural history of Easter Island since its initial human settlement, a topic that has traditionally been addressed using simplistic and dual deterministic approaches. The strong fuzzy EHLFS approach seems to be a robust framework to address past complex issues where environment, humans and landscape interact, as well as an open system able to encompass new challenging evidence and thorough changes in fundamental research questions. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Palaeoinsights)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Preliminary Analysis of European Small Mammal Faunas of the Eemian Interglacial: Species Composition and Species Diversity at a Regional Scale
Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020009
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 26 July 2018
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Abstract
Small mammal remains obtained from the European localities dated to the Eemian (Mikulino) age have been analyzed for the first time at a regional scale based on the present biogeographical regionalization of Europe. The regional faunas dated to the warm interval in the
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Small mammal remains obtained from the European localities dated to the Eemian (Mikulino) age have been analyzed for the first time at a regional scale based on the present biogeographical regionalization of Europe. The regional faunas dated to the warm interval in the first part of the Late Pleistocene display notable differences in fauna composition, species richness, and diversity indices. The classification of regional faunal assemblages revealed distinctive features of small mammal faunas in Eastern and Western Europe during the Eemian (=Mikulino, =Ipswichian) Interglacial. Faunas of the Iberian Peninsula, Apennine Peninsula, and Sardinia Island appear to deviate from the other regions. In the Eemian Interglacial, the maximum species richness of small mammals (≥40 species) with a relatively high proportion of typical forest species was recorded in Western and Central Europe and in the western part of Eastern Europe. The lowest species richness (5–14 species) was typical of island faunas and of those in the north of Eastern Europe. The data obtained make it possible to reconstruct the distribution of forest biotopes and open habitats (forest-steppe and steppe) in various regions of Europe. Noteworthy is a limited area of forests in the south and in the northeastern part of Europe. In these regions, it seems likely that under conditions of relatively high temperatures characteristic of the Last Interglacial and an insufficient moisture supply there could exist open forest stands or forest-steppe landscapes, as suggested by the presence of species indicative of forest-steppe and steppe north of the forest zone. The results obtained are useful in modeling changes in the mammal faunas as well as environmental changes in entire Europe due to global climatic changes (including the global warming recorded at present). Full article
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