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A new middle Pleistocene (Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 6) cold herpetofaunal assemblage from the central Iberian Peninsula (Manzanares Valley, Madrid)

  • Hugues-Alexandre Blain (a1) (a2), Susana Rubio-Jara (a3), Joaquín Panera (a4), David Uribelarrea (a5), César Laplana (a6), Esther Herráez (a7) and Alfredo Pérez-González (a4)...

Abstract

Middle Pleistocene sites that document glacials are relatively rare in the Iberian Peninsula, and as such, the composition of cold small-vertebrate assemblages is almost unknown in southwestern Mediterranean Europe. The archaeological site Estanque de Tormentas de Butarque H-02 in Villaverde, Madrid, in central Spain, recently attributed to Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 6, provides new data on cold small-vertebrate assemblages. Quantitative climate reconstruction and habitat weighting methods applied to the herpetofaunal assemblage reconstruct the terrestrial climatic and environmental conditions that prevailed in central Spain during the penultimate glacial (MIS 6). During MIS 6, the climate was colder (−3.0°C) and slightly wetter (+122.8 mm) than present in the study area. This confirms that temperature variations were not extreme and precipitation was sufficient in southern Mediterranean Europe for the persistence of temperate trees. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction suggests a large representation of dry environments on the overlying plateau, together with a probable corridor of humid meadows and woodlands along the river where the site is located.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Department of Paleontology, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, Zona Educacional 4, Campus Sescelades URV (Edifici W3), 43007 Tarragona, Spain. E-mail: hablain@iphes.cat (H.-A. Blain).

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