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


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).

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Data availability

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



Department of Environment (environment protection organization of Iran)


Field Museum


Karaj Abad


Kyoto University Expedition



M, m:

Upper and lower molars


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


European Neogene land mammal units



P, p:

Upper and lower premolars


Paleontological Research Center of Iran


University of California, Riverside


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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.


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




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.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Responsible Editor: Attila Ciner

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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).

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