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Quaternary 2018, 1(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1020013

The Paradise Lost of Milia (Grevena, Greece; Late Pliocene, Early Villafranchian, MN15/MN16a): Faunal Composition and Diversity

1
CONICET and Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Av. Fontana 140, 9100 Trelew, Chubut, Argentina
2
School of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University Campus, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3
Muséum Requien, 67 Rue Joseph Vernet, 84000 Avignon, France
4
UMR 5608 TRACES, Université Jean Jaurès, 31058 Toulouse CEDEX 1, France
5
UFR des Sciences de la Terre, Université Claude-Bernard-Lyon-1, 69100 Villeurbanne, France
6
Natural History Museum Rotterdam, 3015 AA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In memoriam of Prof. Claude Guérin, who passed away on 22 August 2016.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Maria Rita Palombo and Gavin Prideaux
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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Villafranchian; Ruscinian; mastodon; turtle; alpha and beta diversity Villafranchian; Ruscinian; mastodon; turtle; alpha and beta diversity
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Vlachos, E.; Tsoukala, E.; Crégut-Bonnoure, E.; Guérin, C.; Mol, D. The Paradise Lost of Milia (Grevena, Greece; Late Pliocene, Early Villafranchian, MN15/MN16a): Faunal Composition and Diversity. Quaternary 2018, 1, 13.

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