The Vallesian large-sized Palaeotragus (Giraffidae, Mammalia) from Northern Greece = Οι μεγαλόσωμοι Palaeotragus (Giraffidae, Mammalia) από το Βαλλέζιο της Βόρειας Ελλάδας.

Konstantinos Chr. Laskos


The genus Palaeotragus is the most common giraffid genus in the Late Miocene of Eurasia and numerus species have been described. However, the validity of many of these species has been repeatedly questioned. A metric examination of these species showed that all the large-sized Palaeotragus should be considered synonyms to Palaeotragus coelophrys, with the exception of Palaeotragus berislavicus, and possibly P. asiaticus. A morphological examination of several dental specimens did not reveal any feature that could provide diagnostic information, as the premolar morphology demonstrates high variation, while the molar morphology demonstrates no variation.
Systematic excavations in the Late Miocene sites of Axios Valley (from 1972 to 2012) and Nikiti (from 1991 to 2005), revealed rich faunal assemblages. Members of the Giraffidae family are represented in almost all the different sites. The genus Palaeotragus is the most common giraffid of the aforementioned areas.
A large-sized Palaeotragus skull and several postcranial bones, which were previously classified as Palaeotragus cf. rouenii and later as Palaeotragus sp., from the Vallesian site Nikiti-1 are re-evaluated here. According to metric and morphological comparisons the Nikiti Palaeotragus is distinguished by both Palaeotragus rouenii and Palaeotragus coelophrys. Based on metric comparisons, Nikiti Palaeotragus showed several similarities with Palaeotragus berislavicus, therefore a classification as Palaeotragus aff. berislavicus is suggested.
A review of old along with a study of new fossil remains of large-sized Palaeotragus from the Vallesian of Axios Valley (sites Ravin de la Pluie, Xirochori and Pentalophos), suggests that, based on their size, Ravin de la Pluie specimens are better classified as Palaeotragus cf. coelophrys, Pentalophos specimens are better referred to as Palaeotragus coelophrys and the single mandible from Xirochori to as Palaeotragus sp.

Το γένος Palaeotragus είναι το πιο κοινό της οικογένειας Giraffidae στο Άνω Μειόκαινο της Ευρασίας και πολλά είδη του έχουν περιγραφεί. Παρόλα αυτά, η εγκυρότητα πολλών από τα είδη έχει επανειλημμένα αμφισβητηθεί. Στην παρούσα έρευνα, μια επανεξέταση των μετρικών χαρακτηριστικών των ειδών αποκάλυψε ότι όλοι οι μεγαλόσωμοι αντιπρόσωποι του γένους Palaeotragus θα έπρεπε να θεωρηθούν συνώνυμα του Palaeotragus coelophrys, με εξαίρεση τον Palaeotragus berislavicus και πιθανόν τον Palaeotragus asiaticus. Μορφολογική εξέταση αρκετών οδοντικών δειγμάτων δεν αποκάλυψε κάποιο στοιχείο με διαγνωστική αξία, καθώς η ποικιλομορφία στην μορφολογία των προγομφίων εμφανίζεται πολύ υψηλή, ενώ των γομφίων πολύ χαμηλή.
Συστηματικές ανασκαφές στην Κοιλάδα του Αξιού (από το 1972 έως το 2012) και στην Νικήτη (από το 1991 ως το 2005), αποκάλυψαν πλούσιες πανίδες. Μέλη της οικογένειας Giraffidae αντιπροσωπεύονται στις περισσότερες από τις θέσεις. Το γένος Palaeotragus είναι το πιο κοινό γένος της οικογένειας στις προαναφερθείσες θέσεις.
Ένα κρανίο και διάφορα μετακρανιακά οστά, που είχαν ταξινομηθεί στο παρελθόν ως Palaeotragus cf. rouenii ή Palaeotragus sp., από την πανίδα του ύστερου Βαλλέζιου της θέσης Νικήτη-1 επανεξετάζονται εδώ. Μετρικές και μορφολογικές συγκρίσεις έδειξαν ότι ο Palaeotragus της Νικήτης διαφέρει τόσο από τον Palaeotragus rouenii όσο και από τον Palaeotragus coelophrys. Σύμφωνα με μετρικές συγκρίσεις, παρουσιάζει αρκετές ομοιότητες με τον Palaeotragus berislavicus, και επομένως προτείνεται η ταξινόμησή του ως Palaeotragus aff. berislavicus.
Μία αναθεώρηση παλαιότερου και μελέτη νέου υλικού μεγαλόσωμων Palaeotragus από τις θέσεις Ravin de la Pluie, Πεντάλοφος και Ξηροχώρι, που ανήκουν στο Βαλλέζιο της Κοιλάδας του Αξιού, έδειξε ότι δείγματα της πρώτης θέσης θα πρέπει να ταξινομηθούν ως Palaeotragus cf. coelophrys, δείγματα της δεύτερης ως Palaeotragus coelophrys και δείγματα της τρίτης ως Palaeotragus sp.

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