Late Miocene gazelles (Bovidae, Antilopini) from fossil localities in Western and Northwest Iran

Abstract

The first detailed systematic analysis of the mammal fossils from Dimeh, a new locality in the Zagros basin of Iran, is presented here. The fossil material studied includes cranial remains mostly horn cores of gazelles. Along with these fossils, some new gazelle material recovered from the renowned fossil localities of the middle Maragheh biostratigraphic levels in northwest Iran are also described. The fossils are attributed to three species: Gazella capricornis, G. cf. pilgrimi and Gazella aff. mytilinii. The last two species are recorded for the first time in Iran. The co-occurrence of the first two taxa in the Dimeh assemblage, together with other bovids, suggests a paleobiological spectrum more similar to the Samos fauna in Greece. The two gazelle species also indicate the presence of open environments in the Zagros area around 8–7 Ma (early-middle Turolian).

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Data availability

All materials are deposited in public institutions. Data used in statistical analysis are available in the supplementary material or upon request.

Abbreviations

DOE:

Department of Environment (environment protection organization of Iran)

FM:

Field Museum

KA:

Karaj Abad

KUE:

Kyoto University Expedition

LOR:

Lorestan

M, m:

Upper and lower molars

MMTT:

Muze Melli Tarikh Tabeie (i.e., National Museum of Natural History), Tehran

MN:

European Neogene land mammal units

MOR:

Mordagh

P, p:

Upper and lower premolars

PRCI:

Paleontological Research Center of Iran

UCR:

University of California, Riverside

References

  1. Bernor RL (1978) The mammalian systematic, biostratigraphy and biochronology of Maragheh and its importance for understanding Late Miocene Hominoid zoogeography and evolution. Dissertation. University of California

  2. Bernor RL (1986) Mammalian biostratigraphy, geochronology and zoogeographic relationships of the late Miocene Maragheh fauna, Iran. J Vertebr Paleontol 6:76–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bernor RL, Solounias N, Swisher IIICC, van Couvering JA (1996) The correlation of three classical Pikermian mammal faunas – Maragheh, Samos, Pikermi – with the European MN Unit System. In: Bernor RL, Fahlbusch V, Mittman HW (eds) The evolution of Western Eurasian Neogene Mammal Faunas. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 137–154

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bohlin B (1935) Cavicornier der Hipparion-Fauna Nord-Chinas. Palaeontol Sin C9:1–166

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bouvrain G (1996) Les gazelles du Miocene superieur de Macedoine. Grece. Neues Jahrb Geol Palaontol Abh 199:111–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Campbell BG, Amini MH, Bernor RL, Dickenson W, Drake W, Morris R, Van Couvering JA, Van Couvering JAH (1980) Maragheh: A classical late Miocene vertebrate locality in northwestern Iran. Nature 287:837–841

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Elmore RD, Farrand WR (1981) Asphalt-bearing sediment in synorogenic Miocene–Pliocene molasses, Zagros Mountains. Iran. AAPG Bull 65:1160–1165

    Google Scholar 

  8. Eronen JT, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Micheels A, Karme A, Bernor RL, Fortelius M (2009) Distribution history and climatic controls of the late Miocene Pikermian chronofauna. PNAS 106:11867–11871

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Etemad-Saeed N, Najafi M, Qavim N, Ghods A (2018) Facies analysis and paleo-environmental reconstruction of the Neogene sediments in the Northern Dezful Embayment, Zagros. Geosci 27:3–12

    Google Scholar 

  10. Hammer Ø, Harper DAT, Ryan PD (2001) PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4(1):1–9

    Google Scholar 

  11. Homke S, Verges J, Graces M, Emami H, Karpuz R (2004) Magnetostratigraphy of Miocene–Pliocene Zagros foreland deposits in the front of the Pushe Kush Arc, (Lorestan Province, Iran). Earth Planet Sci Lett 225:397–410

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Jafarzadeh R, Konidaris GE (2020) Choerolophodon (Proboscidea, Mammalia) from a new upper Miocene locality: Kivi-1 (Iran). Palaeobiodivers Palaeoenviron 100:269–280

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kaya F, Bibi F, Žliobaitė I, Eronen JT, Hui T, Fortelius M (2018) The rise and fall of the Old World savannah fauna and the origins of the African savannah biome. Nat Ecol Evol 2: 241–246. Kostopoulos DS (2005) The Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from the Late Miocene mammal locality of Akkaşdaği (Central Anatolia, Turkey). Geodiversitas 27:747–791

    Google Scholar 

  14. Kostopoulos DS (2006) The late Miocene vertebrate locality of Perivolaki, Thessaly, Greece. 9 Cervidae and Bovidae. Palaeontogr 276:151–183

  15. Kostopoulos DS (2009) The Late Miocene Mammal Faunas of the Mytilinii Basin, Samos Island, Greece, New Collection. 14. Bovidae. Beitr Palaeont 31:345–389

    Google Scholar 

  16. Kostopoulos DS (2016) Palaeontology of the upper Miocene vertebrate localities of Nikiti (Chalkidiki Peninsula, Macedonia, Greece). Artiodactyla. Geobios 49:119–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Kostopoulos DS, Bernor RL (2011) The Maragheh bovids (Mammalia Artiodactyla) systematic revision and biostratigraphic- zoogeographic interpretation. Geodiversitas 33:649–708

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kostopoulos DS, de Bonis L, Koufos GD (2020) The Vallesian bovid association from the Ouranopithecus-bearing site of Xirochori-1 (Axios Valley, Greece). Paläontologische Zeitschrift 94:179–194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Mecquenem R (1925) Contribution à l'étude des fossiles de Maragha. Ann Paleontol Vert 13(14):135–160

  20. Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Zaree G, Orak Z (2011a) A large mammals from the new late Miocene fossil localities in Varzeghan area, northwest Iran. Vertebr Palas 49:311–321

  21. Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Mohammad Alizadeh J, Zhang Z, Watabe M, Kaakinen A, Fortelius M (2011b) Late Miocene large mammals from Ivand (northwestern Iran). Geodiversitas 33:709–728

  22. Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Bernor RL, Kostopoulos DS, Wolf D, Orak Z, Zare G, Nakaya H, Watabe M, Fortelius M (2013) Recent advances in paleobiological research of the late Miocene Maragheh fauna, northwest Iran. In: Wang X, Flynn LJ, Fortelius M (eds) Fossil Mammals of Asia; Neogene Biostratigraphy and Chronology. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 546–565

  23. Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Kaakinen A, Kunimatsu Y, Nakaya H, Orak Z, Paknia M, Sakai T, Salminen J, Sawada Y, Sen S, Suwa G, Watabe M, Zaree G, Zhang Z, Fortelius M (2016) The late Miocene Hominoid bearing site in the Maragheh Formation, northwest Iran. Palaeobiodivers Palaeoenviron 96:349–371

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Motiei H (1993) Stratigraphy of Zagros. Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran

    Google Scholar 

  25. Orak Z, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Solgi A, Majidifard M, Kostopoulos D (2019) First mammal fossil locality from the late Miocene of Zagros, Western Iran. Geopersia 9:367–379

    Google Scholar 

  26. Parizad E, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Mashkour M, Solounias N (2019) First giraffid skulls (Bohlinia attica) from the late Miocene Maragheh fauna, Northwest Iran. Geobios 53:23–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Pickford M, Pourabrishami Z (2013) Deciphering Dinotheriensande deinotheriid diversity. Palaeobiodivers Palaeoenviron 93:121–150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Pilgrim GE (1926) On the names and types of certain Pontian antelopes. An Mag Nat His 18:464

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Reichenbacher B, Alimohammadian H, Sabouri J, Haghfarshi E, Faridi M, Abbasi S, Matzke-Karasz R, Fellin MG, Carnevale G, Schiller W (2011) Late miocene stratigraphy palaeoecology and palaeogeography of the Tabriz basin (NW Iran, Eastern Paratethys). Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 311:1–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Rodler A (1885) Das Knochenlager and die Fauna von Maragha. Verh geol Reich:333–337

  31. Rodler A, Weithofer KA (1890) Die Wiederkäuer der Fauna von Maragha. Denk. Kaiser. Akad Wiss wien 57:753–772

    Google Scholar 

  32. Sakai T, Zaree GR, Sawada Y, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Fortelius M (2016) Depositional environment reconstruction of the Maragheh Formation, East Azarbaijan, Northwestern Iran. Palaeobiodivers Palaeoenviron 96:383–398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Salminen J, Paknia M, Kaakinen A, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Zaree G, Orak Z, Fortelius M (2016) Preliminary magnetostratigraphic results from the late Miocene Maragheh Formation, NW Iran. Palaeobiodivers Palaeoenviron 96:433–443

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sen S, Purabrishemi Z (2010) First porcupine fossils (Mammalia, Rodentia) from the late Miocene of NW Iran, with notes on late Miocene-Pliocene dispersal of porcupines. Palaeontolog Z 84:239–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Solounias N (1981) The Turolian fauna from the island of Samos, Greece. Contrib Vert Evol 6:1–232

    Google Scholar 

  36. Stöcklin J, Setudehnia A (1991) Stratigraphic lexicon of Iran. Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran

    Google Scholar 

  37. Thomas H, Sen S, Ligabue G (1980) La faune Miocene de la formation Agha Jari du Jebel Hamrin (Irak). Proc K Ned Akad Wet B 83:269–287

    Google Scholar 

  38. Tylor JC, Mirzaie Ataabadi M, Nazemi Harandi A (2006) New genus and species of basal tetraodontoid puffer fish from the Oligocene of Iran, related to the Zignoichthyidae (Tetraodontiformes). Bol Mus Civ St Nat Verona 30:49–58

    Google Scholar 

  39. Watabe M (1990) Fossil bovids (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from Maragheh (Turolian, late Miocene) Northwest Iran. Annu Rep His Mus Hokkaido 18:19–55

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Iran’s Department of Environment and MMTT supported the excavations at Dimeh and Maragheh and give permission to study the fossils for this publication. We appreciate early efforts by Geological Survey and Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, as well as all the DOE/MMTT staff (Tehran and Lorestan offices) who assisted and participated in Dimeh excavations. DSK trip to Iran was supported by a grant to Anu Kaakinen (University of Helsinki) from the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Suomen Kulttuurirahasto). We are grateful for the helpful comments and text edits provided by Faysal Bibi and an anonymous reviewer.

Funding

Field work for this research is supported by the National Museum of Natural History (MMTT), Department of Environment, Iran. DSK trip to Iran was supported by a grant to Anu Kaakinen (University of Helsinki) from the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Suomen Kulttuurirahasto).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Conceptualization (ZO, MMA, AS, MRM), Methodology (ZO, MMA, DSK), Analysis and investigations (ZO, DSK), Writing original draft (ZO, MMA), Draft review, data comparison and editing (DSK).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Majid Mirzaie Ataabadi.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Code availability

Not applicable.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Attila Ciner

Supplementary information

ESM 1

(PDF 174 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Orak, Z., Mirzaie Ataabadi, M., Solgi, A. et al. Late Miocene gazelles (Bovidae, Antilopini) from fossil localities in Western and Northwest Iran. Arab J Geosci 14, 200 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-06421-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Miocene
  • Bovidae
  • Gazella
  • Zagros
  • Maragheh
  • Iran