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Direct evidence of central European forest refugia during the last glacial period based on mollusc fossils

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017


Although there is evidence from molecular studies for the existence of central European last glacial refugia for temperate species, there is still a great lack of direct fossil records to confirm this theory. Here we bring such evidence in the form of fossil shells from twenty strictly forest land snail species, which were recorded in radiocarbon-dated late glacial or older mollusc assemblages of nine non-interrupted mollusc successions situated in the Western Carpathians, and one in the Bohemian Massif. We proposed that molluscs survived the last glacial period in central Europe in isolated small patches of broadleaf forest, which we unequivocally demonstrate for two sites of last glacial maximum age.

University of Washington

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