Early Pleistocene amphibians and squamates from Copăceni (Dacian Basin, southern Romania)

Abstract

This paper describes an Early Pleistocene amphibian and squamate assemblage from the Dacian Basin, southern Romania. The fossil sample allows for the identification of a moderately diverse assemblage, which includes representatives of 13 genera of the families Salamandridae (Lissotriton vulgaris, Triturus sp.), Bombinatoridae (Bombina sp.), Hylidae (Hyla aff. Hyla arborea), Bufonidae (Bufo bufo), Pelobatidae (Pelobates syriacus), Ranidae (Ranidae indet., Pelophylax sp., Rana ?temporaria, Rana sp.), Lacertidae (Lacertidae indet.), Anguidae (Pseudopus sp.), Natricidae (Natrix natrix), and Colubridae (Coronella austriaca, Zamenis longissimus). The taxonomic composition of the Early Pleistocene amphibian and squamate assemblage from Copăceni is similar to the one reported from other Romanian sites of the same age, and also to that of Recent Romanian herpetofaunas. The amphibian and squamate assemblage from Copăceni supports the existence of a permanent freshwater body, of neighbouring forests or shrubberies, and thick soil, in an Early Pleistocene climate that was warmer than the present one.

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Abbreviations

Co-P:

Copăceni-Park Site

L1:

The lower coquina

IM:

The intermediate mudstone

L2:

The upper coquina

ISER:

“Emil Racoviță” Institute of Speleology, Bucharest

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Acknowledgements

The authors dedicate this paper to the memory of Dr. Emanoil Știucă (“Emil Racoviță” Institute of Speleology, Bucharest) and his initiative to search for vertebrate fossils at Copăceni. Ovidiu Flintașu, Radu-Mihai Ilie, Bogdan M.O. Săvescu, Sebastian Radu, and Petru Răileanu (University of Bucharest) are thanked for their help in collecting and transporting sediment samples. The reviewers, Zbyněk Roček (Czech Academy of Sciences) and Elena Syromyatnikova (Russian Academy of Sciences), are thanked for their useful comments and suggestions, that helped improve the content of this paper. The editors (Peter Koenigshof and Sinje Weber) are also thanked for their suggestions and the work done in handling the manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-0848, within PNCDI III (to Ș.V.). The research leading to these results has also received funding from the EEA grants 2014-2021, under project contract no. 03/2019 (0126/2018) and PCE 197/2016, PCCF 16/2018 (all to A.P.).

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Ștefan Vasile, Márton Venczel, and Alexandru Petculescu. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Ștefan Vasile and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alexandru Petculescu.

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Vasile, Ș., Venczel, M. & Petculescu, A. Early Pleistocene amphibians and squamates from Copăceni (Dacian Basin, southern Romania). Palaeobio Palaeoenv (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-020-00465-w

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Keywords

  • Herpetofauna
  • Pleistocene
  • Amphibians
  • Squamates
  • Palaeobiodiversity
  • Romania