Amphibians and squamate reptiles from the latest early Pleistocene of Cueva Victoria (Murcia, southeastern Spain, SW Mediterranean): Paleobiogeographic and paleoclimatic implications



The karstic filling of Cueva Victoria in southeastern Spain, dated from the latest early Pleistocene (ca. 1.1 Ma), is famous for providing primate fossil remains (Theropithecus) of typical African origin, in the general controversy on the antiquity of the first hominid settlements in Western Europe and their possible entrance into Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar. Cueva Victoria has also furnished the following fauna of anurans and squamate reptiles: cf. Pelodytes sp. (Pelodytidae), Bufo cf. B. bufo (Bufonidae), Blanus cinereus (Blanidae), Tarentola sp. (Geckonidae), Chalcides cf. Ch. bedriagai (Scincidae), Timon cf. T. lepidus and indeterminate small lacertids (Lacertidae), Natrix maura, Coronella girondica, Rhinechis scalaris and Malpolon cf. M. monspessulanus (Colubridae). This faunal association seems to suggest a mean annual temperature slightly fresher than nowadays (approximately 1°C less than at present in the area), with cooler winters but warmer summers and above all higher mean annual precipitations (+ 400 mm). The landscape may correspond to an open forest environment of a Mediterranean type, with some still water points.


Herpetofauna; Strait of Gibraltar; Spain; Early Pleistocene; Paleobiogeography; Paleoclimatology; Paleoecology

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