Functional and Systematic Implications of the Postcranial Anatomy of a Late Miocene Feline (Carnivora, Felidae) from Batallones-1 (Madrid, Spain)

  • Manuel J. Salesa
  • Gema Siliceo
  • Mauricio Antón
  • Stéphane Peigné
  • Jorge Morales
Original Paper

Abstract

The Spanish late Miocene locality of Batallones-1 yielded a rich sample of large carnivorans, including saber-toothed felids, amphicyonids, and ailurids, but also of smaller species, with the small cats being especially interesting. Two species are known from Batallones-1, one of them the size of a wildcat, Felis silvestris, the other one the size of a caracal, Caracal caracal. The former is represented by skulls, mandibles, and postcranial bones, whereas the latter is known from a collection of long bones. Both species are less abundant than their larger relatives, the saber-toothed felids Promegantereon ogygia and Machairodus aphanistus, but the available sample allows us to assess body proportions and adaptations of the smallest species, and to propose a new genus for this feline, Leptofelis vallesiensis. Its limb bones are remarkably gracile compared to fossils of the earlier genera Pseudaelurus, Miopanthera, and Styriofelis, and comparable in cursorial adaptations to the wildcat, very different from extant arboreal cats. While middle Miocene felids were likely semi-arboreal forest dwellers, L. vallesiensis would be mostly terrestrial, climbing essentially for protection. This indicates an adaptation to a mosaic of habitats, including relatively open terrain, and may be related to the climatic changes detected in Eurasia during the late Miocene.

Keywords

Morphology Locomotion Vallesian Leptofelis 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel J. Salesa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gema Siliceo
    • 3
  • Mauricio Antón
    • 1
  • Stéphane Peigné
    • 4
  • Jorge Morales
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Paleobiología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSICMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de GeologiaFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciencias de la VidaUniversidad de Alcalá, Edificio de CienciasAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  4. 4.CR2P–UMR 7207 CNRS, Museum national d’Histoire naturelleParisFrance

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