Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 373–386 | Cite as

The fossil record of the Neogene Carnivore Mammals from Spain

  • Jorge Morales
  • Juan L. Cantalapiedra
  • Alberto Valenciano
  • Daniel Hontecillas
  • Susana Fraile
  • Blanca A. García Yelo
  • Plinio Montoya
  • Juan Abella
Original Paper


Carnivore mammals (Carnivora, Mammalia) constitute a significant component of the Spanish Neogene faunas, not so much due to their fossil abundance, which is generally low, but rather because of their high degree of taxonomic diversity. We assessed their evolutionary dynamics from the fossil record of Iberian carnivores using per-taxon rates of origination, extinctions and turnover combined with a recent approach for removing the sampling signal from diversity curves. Our analysis interval covers most of the Neogene and the early Pleistocene (MN 2 to MN 17), spanning from around 21.6 to 1.8 Ma. We identified six carnivore associations by applying factor analysis to our data. The diversification pattern shows four origination episodes: MN4, MN7/8, MN12 and MN14. We also identified four extinction episodes. The first two are coincident with the onset of the MN 4 and MN7/8 faunas. The last two extinction episodes take place during MN9, coinciding with the Mid Vallesian Crisis (MVC), and MN13, co-occurring with the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC). Two major turnover pulses are recognised during MN4 and MN14, the turnover rate remaining moderately high between MN6 and MN13. We suggest that the pattern observed might be primarily triggered by the biogeographic and climatic shifts that took place during the Neogene.


Spain Neogene Carnivore Fossil record Diversity 



We first wish to thank the editors for the invitation to participate in this tribute to Prof. Albert van der Meulen. We also wish to thank Dr. Lars van den Hoek Ostende, Dr. Pablo Peláez-Campomanes, Dr. Martin Sabol, as well as an anonymous reviewer and Dr. Sinje Weber for their useful comments on the manuscripts. Thanks are due to Cormac de Brun for the manuscript revision. The authors are also grateful to Project CGL2011-25754, MINECO (Spanish Government) and to Research Group BSCH-UCM 910607. J.A. would like to thank the “Proyecto Prometeo” of the “Secretaria de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación”, Republic of Ecuador. A.V. is a trainee researcher of CSIC program JAE-PRE-CP2011 (CSIC program “Junta para la ampliación de estudios”), co-funded by the European Social Fund. D.H. is a trainee researcher of the FPU 2013 program granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

Supplementary material

12549_2015_206_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.2 mb)
Figure 1 Cenozoic basins from the Iberian Peninsula with carnivore fossil sites used in this study (PDF 2300 kb)
12549_2015_206_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (50 kb)
Table 1 Distribution of genera per MN zones. 1 = Creodonta; 2 = Amphicyonidae; 3 = Canidae; 4 = Ailuridae; 5 = Hemicyonidae; 6 = Ursidae; 7 = Mustelidae; 8 = Mephitidae; 9 = Herpestidae + Viverridae; 10 = Hyaenidae + Percrocutidae; 11 = Barbourofelidae; 12 = Felidae (XLSX 50.3 kb)
12549_2015_206_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (56 kb)
ESM 3 (XLSX 55 kb)
12549_2015_206_MOESM4_ESM.docx (38 kb)
ESM 4 (DOCX 38.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Morales
    • 1
  • Juan L. Cantalapiedra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alberto Valenciano
    • 3
    • 4
  • Daniel Hontecillas
    • 1
  • Susana Fraile
    • 1
  • Blanca A. García Yelo
    • 1
  • Plinio Montoya
    • 5
  • Juan Abella
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Museum für NaturkundeLeibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity ScienceBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Departamento de Geología Sedimentaria y Cambio MedioambientalInstituto de Geociencias (CSIC, UCM)MadridSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de PaleontologíaFacultad de Ciencias Geológicas UCMMadridSpain
  5. 5.Departament de Geologia, Àrea de PaleontologiaUniversitat de ValènciaBurjassotSpain
  6. 6.Universidad Estatal Península de Santa ElenaSanta ElenaEcuador
  7. 7.Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel CrusafontUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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