Fossil badgers of the genus Meles are known in Eurasia since the Late Pliocene but their record is utterly scarce, often represented by isolated remains. This led to taxonomic confusion and hindered phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus. Here we describe in detail all the material attributed to M. thorali from the Early Pleistocene locality of Saint-Vallier, including several new complete crania. The results of comparative morphological and morphometric analyses allow reaffirming the distinction of M. thorali from M. meles and reassessing the status of other fossil species. All the analyzed European specimens between ca 2.8 and 1.5 Ma can be reasonably accommodated in a single species, M. thorali, while in Asia the diversity is higher, with up to four taxa described. Our analyses support previous interpretations of a close relationship between M. teilhardi with M. thorali. The European Meles meles appeared around 1.5 Ma and became the only badger present in European sites. We can therefore assume that the radiation of the genus Meles occurred during the general climatic changes that took place during the latest Pliocene and the beginning of Pleistocene and resulting environmental shifts across Eurasia.

Quaternary Eurasian badgers: Intraspecific variability and species validity / Faggi, A.; Bartolini-Lucenti, S.; Madurell-Malapeira, J.; Abramov, A. V.; Puzachenko, A. Y.; Jiangzuo, Q.; Peiran, L.; Rook, L.. - In: JOURNAL OF MAMMALIAN EVOLUTION. - ISSN 1064-7554. - ELETTRONICO. - 31:(2024), pp. 3.0-3.0. [10.1007/s10914-023-09696-y]

Quaternary Eurasian badgers: Intraspecific variability and species validity

Faggi, A.;Rook, L.
2024

Abstract

Fossil badgers of the genus Meles are known in Eurasia since the Late Pliocene but their record is utterly scarce, often represented by isolated remains. This led to taxonomic confusion and hindered phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus. Here we describe in detail all the material attributed to M. thorali from the Early Pleistocene locality of Saint-Vallier, including several new complete crania. The results of comparative morphological and morphometric analyses allow reaffirming the distinction of M. thorali from M. meles and reassessing the status of other fossil species. All the analyzed European specimens between ca 2.8 and 1.5 Ma can be reasonably accommodated in a single species, M. thorali, while in Asia the diversity is higher, with up to four taxa described. Our analyses support previous interpretations of a close relationship between M. teilhardi with M. thorali. The European Meles meles appeared around 1.5 Ma and became the only badger present in European sites. We can therefore assume that the radiation of the genus Meles occurred during the general climatic changes that took place during the latest Pliocene and the beginning of Pleistocene and resulting environmental shifts across Eurasia.
2024
31
0
0
Goal 13: Climate action
Goal 15: Life on land
Faggi, A.; Bartolini-Lucenti, S.; Madurell-Malapeira, J.; Abramov, A. V.; Puzachenko, A. Y.; Jiangzuo, Q.; Peiran, L.; Rook, L.
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Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1353385
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