Leopard remains are rare in the European fossil record, probably a consequence of its solitary and elusive habits. Equi, dating back to Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3), represents a rich and outstanding exception. Historical excavations (from 1911 to about 1917) at Equi allowed more than 200 remains to be recovered of this large felid, a sample attesting the richest leopard-bearing site in the Pleistocene of Europe. The Equi site testifies the survival of a prosperous leopard population in northwestern Italy (the Apuan Alps area) during the pre Last Glacial Maximum Late Pleistocene.Almost all skeletal elements are represented in the collection (except ribs, and most of axial skeleton). At Equi, leopard is represented by both young and adult animals and, up to now, it seems the first and unique Pleistocene evidence of cave usage for cubs raised in Europe.This study focuses on the whole record of leopard from Equi, housed in the Museum of Natural History of Florence, and is aimed to analyze the taphonomical assemblage, to provide an anatomical description of the remains and the comparison to the European evidences. Moreover, we infer the paleoecology of leopards, and their relationships with other large carnivores from the Equi guild (Ursus spelaeus, Canis lupus, and Panthera leo spelaea). The site was probably an occasional large carnivores den, used over time by different large carnivore taxa, perhaps in different seasons or times (mutual avoiding).Our morphological analysis allows us to recognize sexual dimorphic characters in the cranium, and a large morphological variability in body size.

The remarkable Panthera pardus (Felidae, Mammalia) record from Equi (Massa, Italy): taphonomy, morphology, and paleoecology

Ghezzo E.
;
2015

Abstract

Leopard remains are rare in the European fossil record, probably a consequence of its solitary and elusive habits. Equi, dating back to Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3), represents a rich and outstanding exception. Historical excavations (from 1911 to about 1917) at Equi allowed more than 200 remains to be recovered of this large felid, a sample attesting the richest leopard-bearing site in the Pleistocene of Europe. The Equi site testifies the survival of a prosperous leopard population in northwestern Italy (the Apuan Alps area) during the pre Last Glacial Maximum Late Pleistocene.Almost all skeletal elements are represented in the collection (except ribs, and most of axial skeleton). At Equi, leopard is represented by both young and adult animals and, up to now, it seems the first and unique Pleistocene evidence of cave usage for cubs raised in Europe.This study focuses on the whole record of leopard from Equi, housed in the Museum of Natural History of Florence, and is aimed to analyze the taphonomical assemblage, to provide an anatomical description of the remains and the comparison to the European evidences. Moreover, we infer the paleoecology of leopards, and their relationships with other large carnivores from the Equi guild (Ursus spelaeus, Canis lupus, and Panthera leo spelaea). The site was probably an occasional large carnivores den, used over time by different large carnivore taxa, perhaps in different seasons or times (mutual avoiding).Our morphological analysis allows us to recognize sexual dimorphic characters in the cranium, and a large morphological variability in body size.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3722924
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