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Multiproxy reconstruction of the palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment of the Middle Miocene Somosaguas site (Madrid, Spain) using herbivore dental enamel

Domingo Martínez, Laura and Cuevas González, Jaime and Grimes, Stephen T. and Hernández Fernández, Manuel and López Martínez, Nieves (2009) Multiproxy reconstruction of the palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment of the Middle Miocene Somosaguas site (Madrid, Spain) using herbivore dental enamel. Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology , 272 . pp. 53-68. ISSN 0031-0182

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Abstract

Profound palaeoclimatic changes took place during the Middle Miocene. The Miocene Climatic Optimum
(∼20 to 14–13.5 Ma) was followed by a sudden (∼200 ka) decrease in temperature and an increase in aridity
around the world as a consequence of the reestablishment of the ice cap in Antarctica. Somosaguas
palaeontological site (Madrid Basin, Spain) has provided a rich record of mammal remains coincident with
this global event (Middle Miocene Biozone E, 14.1–13.8 Ma). It contains four fossiliferous levels (T1, T3-1, T3-2
and T3-3, with T1 being the oldest) that span an estimated time of ∼105–125 ka. Scanning Electron
Microscope (SEM) and Rare Earth Element (REE) analyses performed on herbivore tooth enamel
(Gomphotherium angustidens, Anchitherium cf. A. cursor, Conohyus simorrensis, Prosantorhinus douvillei and
ruminants) indicate that diagenetic processes have not been intense enough as to obscure the original
geochemical signal. Stable isotope (δ18OCO3, δ13CCO3 and δ18OPO4) analyses have been measured on the
herbivore tooth enamel across these levels with the aim of determining to what extent the global cooling and
aridity pattern is recorded at this site. A decrease in δ18OCO3 and δ18OPO4 has been detected from T1 to T3-3
and T3-1 to T3-3 respectively indicating a progressive drop of about 6 °C (from around 18 °C to 12 °C) in mean
annual temperatures within T3. Tooth enamel δ13C values experience an increase from T3-1 to T3-3
suggesting an increase in aridity. Ba/Ca analyses have also been performed on the tooth enamel in order to
detect changes in the palaeoecology of the studied taxa. This ratio allows the establishment of particular
feeding patterns such as a more browsing habit in the case of Gomphotherium angustidens compared to
Anchitherium cf. A. cursor as suggested by higher Ba/Ca values in the latter. Trace elements do not support
any significant change across the succession in the dietary behaviour of the species analyzed, despite the
stable isotopes evidence of an important palaeoclimatic shift from T1 to T3-3.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Somosaguas, Large mammalian herbivores, Oxygen and carbon isotopes, Trace elements, Middle Miocene, South-Western Europe
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:15540
Deposited On:07 Jun 2012 11:40
Last Modified:07 Jun 2012 11:40

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