LARGE MAMMALS FROM THE MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE (MIS 11) SITE OF FONTIGNANO 2 (ROME, CENTRAL ITALY), WITH AN OVERVIEW OF “SAN COSIMATO” ASSEMBLAGES
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Here we describe fossil mammal remains recovered from the late Middle Pleistocene (MIS 11) of Fontignano 2 (Rome, central Italy). Two species are recognized: the aurochs Bos primigenius and the red deer Cervus elaphus. The presence of B. primigenius represents one of the earliest diagnostic evidence of the species. Conversely, remains of C. elaphus are not fully diagnostic at a subspecies level, despite being long considered among the reference occurrences of C. e. eostephanoceros in Italy. This reconsideration, concurrent with the revised chronology of several localities of the area of Rome, questions the validity of the chronosubspecific and evolutionary repartition of the red deer as often envisioned in the literature, i.e., C. e. acoronatus, C. e. eostephanoceros, C. e. rianensis, C. e. elaphus. Remains of Fontignano 2 are part of those recovered within the San Cosimato Formation, also including Via di Brava (MIS 13 or MIS 11), with Palaeoloxodon antiquus, and San Cosimato (MIS 11), with Stephanorhinus sp., B. primigenius, Castor fiber, and Emys orbicularis.
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