Exceptional fossil record of the middle miocene mammals from the Czujan’s sandpit (Mikulov, Czech Republic)Article PDF
Exceptional fossil record of the middle miocene mammals from the Czujan’s sandpit (Mikulov, Czech Republic)
Czujan’s sandpit (Mikulov=Nikolsburg, Czech Republic) was an important fossil site of middle Miocene mammals and reptiles, whose remains were found in several sedimentary infills throughout the whole existence of the sandpit. The fossil record from Czujan‘s sandpit is unique in particular due to the abundance of rare species – i.e. the mammutid Zygolophodon turicensis and the bovid Tethytragus stehlini. The high-quality preservation allows the study of bones in great anatomical detail, but due to the absence of field documentation, the number and completeness of the skeletons were still unknown. In this work, 397 remains found in 1930s–1970s, stored in several scientific institutions and one private collection, were studied. By comparing of the date of finding, the identical type of fossilization, and the corresponding morphology and size, at least 61 individuals of mammals were recognized. The most complete species is Zygolophodon turicensis (30 %), represented by at least 24 individuals of different ages and sexes (recognized 7 females and 3 males by the epiphyseal fusion vs. size). It is followed by Brachypotherium brachypus (21 %) with at least 6 adult individuals, Tethytragus stehlini (15 %) with a minimum of 14 adult individuals, and then Hoploaceratherium sp. (12 %), Gomphotherium angustidens (7 %), Palaeomerycidae indet. (7 %) and Heteroprox larteti (3 %) each with MNI = 3. Conversely, the taxa Anchitherium sp., Amphicyon cf. major, Prodeinotherium cf. bavaricum, cf. Retroporcus matritensis with only 1‒3 skeletal elements represent at least one individual for each of them. These results represent the first comprehensive overview on the quality of the fossil record of the middle Miocene mammals from the Czujan’s sandpit site, which will be especially important for subsequent studies focused on individual species. The relatively high anatomical completeness (30 %) of Z. turicensis (including almost complete permanent and deciduous dentition, tusks, and a large part of the postcranial skeleton), which represents the skeletons of several males and females of different ages, shifts Czujan’s sandpit among the most important localities of this species worldwide.
Jakub Březina, Department of Geology and Paleontology, Moravian Museum, Zelný trh 6, 659 37 Brno, Czech Republic; e-mail: email@example.com