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Distinction of Arvernoceros ardei and Cervus perrieri (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the late Pliocene site of Perrier (France) based on the postcranial skeleton: taxonomic and phylogenetic conclusions

Abstract

Characteristics of the postcranial skeleton of Arvernoceros ardei and Cervus perrieri from Perrier (France, late Pliocene, 2.78 ± 0.01 Ma BP, MNQ 16b) are described and distinguished. This was made possible by using the skeletal remains of A. ardei from Kaltensundheim (Germany, Thuringia, late Pliocene age) as identification keys. C. perrieri did not occur in Kaltensundheim. Twenty-five skeletal differences of A. ardei and C. perrieri are detected, and are compared to the genera Eucladoceros, Cervus, Praemegaceros and Megaloceros. The results demonstrate a high level of conformity of A. ardei with Eucladoceros in predominantly plesiomorphic features; major differences exist between A. ardei and Cervus, and A. ardei and Megaloceros. C. perrieri shows several similarities with Cervus elaphus, in which both differ from A. ardei and Eucladoceros. An association of C. perrieri to the genus Cervus is indicated by the postcranial skeleton, as has been discussed in the literature based on antler characteristics. By the findings of Kaltensundheim, a precise association of dental and skeletal characteristics to A. ardei is possible now. The allocation of E. giulii from Untermaßfeld (Germany, Thuringia, Jaramillo event) to the genus Arvernoceros appears doubtful based on the dental and skeletal features of A. ardei from Kaltensundheim and Perrier. The original classification within the genus Eucladoceros is considered probable.

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Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Prof. Dr. H.-D. Kahlke† and Prof. Dr. R.-D. Kahlke (IQW Weimar) for permission to study the deer material from Kaltensundheim a few years ago. Their kind support during my visits to Weimar was of great help for this study. I wish to thank Prof. (em.) Dr. Wighart v. Koenigswald, and Prof. (em.) Dr. Günther Deml for helpful discussions and comments. I am very grateful to various scientists and curators who allowed me to study material in their care: Dr. Christine Argot, Prof. Dr. P. Tassy (MNHN, Paris), Mrs. R. Lücht (IHK, Kiel), Dr. R. Hutterer (ZFMK, Bonn), Dr. O. Hampe, Dr. W.- D. Heinrich (MNHB, Berlin), Dr. G. Storch † and Dr. G. Plodowski (SMF, Frankfurt), Dr. G. Gruber (HLMD, Darmstadt), Dr. R. Ziegler and Dr. E. Heizmann (SMNS, Stuttgart), Dr. O. Neuffer, Dr. H. Jung (MNHM, Mainz), Prof. Dr. B. Engesser (NHMB, Basel), Prof. E. Tchernov † and Dr. R. Rabinovich (Hebrew University Jerusalem), Dr. J. de Vos and Prof. Dr. T. v. Kolfschoten (RMNH, Leiden), Prof. Dr. A. Azzaroli †, Prof. Dr. D. Torre, Dr. L. Abbazzi, Dr. L. Rook, Dr. M. Ferretti (IGF, Florence), Prof. Dr. C. Petronio, Dr. L. Capasso Babato, Dr. G. di Stefano (“La Sapienza”, Rome), Prof. Dr. C. Guérin, Dr. M. Faure, Dr. A. Valli (FSL, Lyon). Dr. Günther Deml kindly provided literature for this study and improved the photographs. I wish to thank Samantha Moody for correcting the English text. The investigation of the bone material from Kaltensundheim, Senèze, and the Upper Valdarno a few years ago was made possible by the financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The useful text corrections and constructive review comments of Sabrina Curran and Jan van der Made have helped to improve this manuscript.

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Pfeiffer-Deml, T. Distinction of Arvernoceros ardei and Cervus perrieri (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the late Pliocene site of Perrier (France) based on the postcranial skeleton: taxonomic and phylogenetic conclusions. PalZ 94, 377–408 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-019-00473-y

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Keywords

  • Cervidae
  • Arvernoceros ardei
  • Cervus perrieri
  • Postcranial skeleton
  • Distinction characteristics
  • Taxonomy