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Late Miocene−early Pliocene rodents and lagomorphs (Mammalia) from the southern part of Çankırı Basin, Turkey

  • Sevket Sen (a1), Levent Karadenizli (a2), Pierre-Olivier Antoine (a3) and Gerçek Saraç (a4)

Three localities in the Çankırı Basin—Kale Tepe 1 (KT1), Kale Tepe 2 (KT2), and Mahmutlar—yielded reliably documented rodent and lagomorph assemblages. These are in the Akkaşdağı Formation, which covers large areas in the central and southern parts of this basin in Central Anatolia. The widening of the Kirikkale-Çorum highway produced fresh outcrops that allowed for the discovery of fossiliferous levels in a well-controlled stratigraphy. The assemblages from all three localities are dominated by muroid rodents (Apodemus gorafensis Ruiz Bustos et al., 1984; A. gudrunae van de Weerd, 1976; A. dominans Kretzoi, 1959; Micromys sp. indet.; Allocricetus sp. indet.; Pseudomeriones sp. indet.; Cricetidae gen. indet. sp. indet.; Mimomys sp. indet.) in addition to a glirid (Dryomimus cf. D. eliomyoides Kretzoi, 1959), an eomyid (Keramidomys aff. K. ermannorum Daxner-Höck and Höck, 2009), two ochotonids (Prolagus sorbinii Masini, 1989; Ochotonoma sp. indet.) and one leporid. KT1 and KT2 yielded two large species of Apodemus (A. gorafensis; A. gudrunae) that are typical for the late Miocene/early Pliocene transition in southern Europe, and they are known in Greece and Turkey in localities dated to the latest Miocene, i.e., MN 13 mammalian zone. The occurrence of A. dominans and a rooted arvicolid similar to Mimomys davakosi van de Weerd, 1979 suggests correlation of Mahmutlar to the early Pliocene, or early MN 15 zone. An abundance of muroid rodents in these assemblages indicates woodlands and areas covered by grasses and shrubs, whereas early Pliocene deposits at Mahmutlar provided pollen of abundant herbaceous and shrub elements. Most rodents and lagomorphs from Kale Tepe and Mahmutlar are known in southern European bioprovinces, whereas some elements (Pseudomeriones Schaub, 1934; Ochotonoma Sen, 1998) indicate Asiatic affinities.

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