Amphibians and reptiles as palaeonvironmental proxies during the Late Pleistocene (MIS3): The case of Stratigraphic Unit V of El Salt, Alcoi, Spain - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology Year : 2021

Amphibians and reptiles as palaeonvironmental proxies during the Late Pleistocene (MIS3): The case of Stratigraphic Unit V of El Salt, Alcoi, Spain

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Rafael Marquina-Blasco
  • Function : Author
Ana Fagoaga
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1102163
Vicente D Crespo
  • Function : Author
Carolina Mallol
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1102164
Cristo M Hernández
  • Function : Author
Bertila Galván
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1102165
Francisco Javier Ruiz-Sánchez
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1102166

Abstract

The locality of El Salt (Alcoi, Spain) is a key site for understanding the extirpation of Neanderthals in the eastern part of Iberia. In this paper, we analyse an assemblage of amphibians and reptiles from Stratigraphic Unit V (45.2 ± 3.4 ka to 44.7 ± 3.4 ka), which corresponds to one of the last regional records of Neanderthals, to improve knowledge of the palaeoecology and palaeoclimate of this event. The assemblage comprises three anurans (Pelodytes sp., Alytes obstetricans, and Epidalea calamita), two lizards (Lacertidae indet. and Chalcides bedriagai), and five snakes (Colubridae indet., Coronella sp., Coronella sp./Zamenis sp., Natrix maura, and Vipera latastei). Palaeoclimatic reconstruction, based on the Mutual Ecogeographic Range method, indicates that climate was cooler and slightly wetter climate than the present day climate of the Alcoi area. Applying the Habitat Weighting Method, we infer that the area surrounding El Salt was dominated by open dry regions, alternating with rocky areas with scarce scrubs and forest patches that would have developed under mesomediterranean conditions. These results are not entirely consistent with those obtained with other proxies (charcoal and small mammal assemblages) from the same site, which suggest slightly warmer and drier conditions. We hypothesise that these divergences may be partly related to the current wide distribution of reptiles and amphibians across Iberia. A key finding is that the extirpation of the Neanderthals in Iberia coincided with aridification.

Dates and versions

mnhn-03261370 , version 1 (20-12-2022)

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Rafael Marquina-Blasco, Ana Fagoaga, Vicente D Crespo, Salvador Bailon, Carolina Mallol, et al.. Amphibians and reptiles as palaeonvironmental proxies during the Late Pleistocene (MIS3): The case of Stratigraphic Unit V of El Salt, Alcoi, Spain. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2021, 571, ⟨10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110372⟩. ⟨mnhn-03261370⟩
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