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Article: A coherent biogeographical framework for Old World Neogene and Pleistocene mammals

Palaeontology - Vol. 66 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 65
Part: 2
Publication Date: 2022
Article number: e12594
Author(s): Corentin Gibert, Axelle Zacaï, Frédéric Fluteau, Gilles Ramstein, Olivier Chavasseau, Ghislain Thiery, Antoine Souron, William Banks, Franck Guy, Doris Barboni, Pierre Sepulchre, Cécile Blondel, Gildas Merceron, and Olga Otero
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GIBERT, C., ZACAï, A., FLUTEAU, F., RAMSTEIN, G., CHAVASSEAU, O., THIERY, G., SOURON, A., BANKS, W., GUY, F., BARBONI, D., SEPULCHRE, P., BLONDEL, C., MERCERON, G., OTERO, O. 2022. A coherent biogeographical framework for Old World Neogene and Pleistocene mammals. Palaeontology, 65, 2, e12594. DOI:

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Abstract In order to understand mammalian evolution and compute a wide range of biodiversity indices, we commonly use the ‘bioregion’, a spatial division adapted to ecological and evolutionary constraints. While commonly conducted by neontologists, the establishment of bioregions in palaeontology is generally a secondary analysis, shaped on subjective time scales and areas specific to the investigated questions and groups. This heterogeneity, coupled with the scale-dependency of biodiversity indices, prevents the clear identification of macroecological and macroevolutionary trends for large taxonomic groups like extinct mammals. Here we tackle this issue by providing a coherent framework for Neogene and Pleistocene mammals of the Old World following two steps: (1) a temporal scale adapted to mammalian evolutionary history (i.e. evolutionary fauna) is defined by poly-cohort analysis; (2) bioregions are then computed for each evolutionary fauna by clustering, ordination and intermediate approaches at multiples spatial scales (i.e. continental to regional) for Eurasia and Africa. Additionally, providing a coherent framework for a wide range of mammalian datasets, our results show: (1) the synchronous emergence and fall of five mammalian evolutionary faunas identified at chronological scales varying from the epoch to the geological stage; (2) a transition from a longitudinal to a latitudinal biogeographical structuring between the Miocene and Pliocene, especially in Europe; (3) the long-term affinity of southern Asian with African faunas, in sharp contrast with the modern Palaearctic bioregion extension; and (4) the establishment of a vast Mediterranean bioregion from fragmented areas in the Late Miocene to its full extent in the Pleistocene.
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