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The Kvabebi Canidae record revisited (late Pliocene, Sighnaghi, eastern Georgia)

  • Lorenzo Rook (a1), Saverio Bartolini Lucenti (a1) (a2), Maia Bukhsianidze (a3) and David Lordkipanidze (a3)

Unlike the Asian and North American Pliocene record, fossil occurrences of Canidae in Europe (and Africa) are uncommon and fragmentary. The revision of canid material from the late Pliocene site of Kvabebi (eastern Georgia) revealed the contemporaneous occurrence of three different taxa: (1) Nyctereutes megamastoides (a derived species of the Eurasian Pliocene raccoon dog-like canids); (2) Vulpes cf. V. alopecoides (representing the first occurrence of a member of the vulpine taxon V. alopecoides, a species that was the most widespread fox in the early Pleistocene in western Europe); and (3) Eucyon sp. The latter occurrence at Kvabebi completes our knowledge of the late Pliocene evolutionary history of the latest representatives of the genus in Western Europe and Central Asia. Our revision of Kvabebi canids registers a previously undocumented case of established niche partitioning among early Pliocene sympatric Canidae.

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