Lynx remains from the Pleistocene of Valdemino cave (Savona, Northwestern Italy), and the oldest occurrence of Lynx spelaeus (Carnivora, Felidae)

Abstract

Fossil lynxes are quite common in the Plio-Pleistocene mammal assemblages of Europe. Despite of this abundant record, the phylogeny of the genus Lynx and the relationships among the different recorded species are far from being resolved. The most controversial species of this group is Lynx pardinus spelaeus or Lynx spelaeus according to different scholars, recorded in the Middle and Late Pleistocene of France and Italy. Here, we describe unpublished remains of fossil lynxes from different layers of the Valdemino cave (Middle to Late Pleistocene, Savona, Italy). The reported evidence suggests that the lynx from Valdemino represents probably the most ancient well-documented material of L. spelaeus in Europe further reinforcing the idea of progressive size reduction and acquisition of more trenchant dentition in the European lineages of lynx (L. pardinus and L. spelaeus) during the Middle to Late Pleistocene.

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Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to B. Sala, P. Boscato, R.D. Kahlke, R. Sardella, D. Iurino, E. Cioppi, A. Farrel, G. Takeuchi, V. Vicedo, J. Quesada, G. Veron, and L. Costeur for providing access to skeletal collections under their care. This work has been supported by the University of Florence Grants (Fondi di Ateneo), and Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CGL-2011-28681). This study also partly received support from the SYNTHESYS Project http://www.synthesys.info/ (project number FR-TAF-3311), which is financed by European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 “Capacities” Program. JMM participation in this project gained impetus during a stay at Sapienza University of Rome as visiting researcher contracted by the Italian MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca).

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Correspondence to Elena Ghezzo.

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Ghezzo, E., Boscaini, A., Madurell-Malapeira, J. et al. Lynx remains from the Pleistocene of Valdemino cave (Savona, Northwestern Italy), and the oldest occurrence of Lynx spelaeus (Carnivora, Felidae). Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 26, 87–95 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-014-0363-4

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Keywords

  • Felinae
  • Lynx evolution
  • Middle and late pleistocene
  • Taxonomy
  • Morphology