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Fish, amphibian and reptilian assemblage from the middle Miocene locality Gračanica—Bugojno palaeolake, Bosnia and Herzegovina


This paper presents the first fossil fish, amphibian and reptilian fauna from Bosnia and Herzegovina Dinarides. The fauna of ectothermic vertebrates of the Bugojno palaeolake, dated to 15.2–14.0 Ma, composes of killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes indet.), a barb (Barbini indet. (aff. Barbus), a crocodile newt (Chelotriton sp.), a painted frog (Latonia sp.) and a crocodile (Alligatoroidea indet. [?Diplocynodon]). The crocodile remains are confined to the lower part of the section corresponding to the swamp deposit (unit 1). The remaining fauna, which includes fishes and amphibians, come from the upper lacustrine unit 2. A possible Barbus (Barbini indet. (aff. Barbus)) could represent one of the oldest fossil records of the genus found in Europe, which composes of skeletal elements and pharyngeal teeth. The crocodile newt (Chelotriton sp.) represents the first record of this group from the area. For the first time, fossil tadpoles of the genus Latonia are described in this paper, which, moreover, are the first record of tadpole for both the family Discoglossidae and clade of discoglossoid frogs. The crocodile remains, identified as Alligatoroidea indet., should belong to the genus Diplocynodon, which will be tested later on a better preserved material. The fossils, coming from the lacustrine interval, are referred to the deeper water facies. Taphonomic observations of the fossil remains suggest relatively short phase of decay of the animal bodies and their (probably quick) sedimentation in the deeper parts of the lake, with poor oxygen content.

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I would like to express my deep gratitude to Hazim Hrvatović (Federal Geological Survey of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Oleg Mandic (Natural History Museum Vienna), for invaluable assistance in organising the excavation, as well as to Dževad Forčaković (Coal mine “Gračanica” Gornji Vakuf - Uskoplje) and the coal mine administration for making the excavation at site possible. I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the excavation team (Charlene Gaillard (Fribourg), Renaud Roch (Porrentruy) and Ursula Göhlich (Vienna)), as well as to the workers of the mine for help to find the fossils. I would like to thank Charlene Gaillard for her assistance in preparation of the fossils and drawing Fig. 9. I express my special thanks to Zbyněk Roček for fruitful and professional discussions about the genus Latonia and critical reading of the manuscript. Massimo Delfino (Torino) is thanked for fruitful discussions and Bettina Reichenbacher (Munich) for literature support. I thank Renaud Roch (Porrentruy) for his advices during the preparation of the specimens. Patrick Röschli (Porrentruy) has drawn Fig. 2h and helped patiently with the photographic documentation of the fossil material. My thanks goes also to two reviewers of the paper (Andrea Villa, Torino and Madelaine Böhme, Tübingen) as well as (guest) editors of this special issue Ursula Göhlich, Oleg Mandic, Sinje Weber and Peter Königshof, whose comments and reviews significantly improved the manuscript.

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This article is a contribution to the special issue “The drowning swamp of Gračanica (Bosnia-Herzegovina) - a diversity hotspot from the middle Miocene in the Bugojno Basin”

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Vasilyan, D. Fish, amphibian and reptilian assemblage from the middle Miocene locality Gračanica—Bugojno palaeolake, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 100, 437–455 (2020).

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  • Ectothermic vertebrates
  • Palaeobiogeography
  • Palaeoecology
  • Middle Miocene
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina