Fossil Giraffidae (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from the late Miocene of Thermopigi (Macedonia, Greece)

Alexandros Xafis, Evangelia Tsoukala, Nikos Solounias, Oleg Mandic, Mathias Harzhauser, Friðgeir Grímsson, Doris Nagel

Palaeontologists have known about the fossiliferous site at Thermopigi (Central Macedonia, N. Greece) for the past two decades. Following the first field campaigns a wealth of new information on the overall geology, taphonomy and palaeontology of the site became available. With more than 1300 fossils, representing at least 20 mammalian species, Thermopigi is considered a rich late Miocene locality, with hipparions, bovids, giraffes and rhinos being the most prominent elements of the palaeofauna. Four different giraffids are identified: Helladotherium duvernoyi, Samotherium major, Palaeotragus rouenii, and a slightly larger Palaeotragus sp. The faunal assemblage reveals the northernmost occurrence of Samotherium major and the third recorded presence of this species from continental Greece. Helladotherium duvernoyi is the most abundant giraffid at Thermopigi, with the largest fossil collection containing both dental and skeletal elements. The comparison of Palaeotragus with other palaeotragine giraffids suggests the coexistence of two Palaeotragus taxa. The abundance of H. duvernoyi, the presence of S. major and the coexistence of the latter with P. rouenii and another slightly larger palaeotragine, indicate that the faunal assemblage at Thermopigi is of middle Turolian age, placing it in the MN12 zone.

Department of Palaeontology, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, New York Institute of Technology, American Museum of Natural History, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHM)
Palaeontologia Electronica
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
105112 Historical geology, 105118 Palaeontology, 106043 Systematic zoology, 106054 Zoology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Geology, Palaeontology, Stratigraphy, Animal Science and Zoology
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