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J Hum Evol. 2003 Aug;45(2):145-53.

Explaining the end of the hominoid experiment in Europe.

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  • 1Institute of Paleontology M. Crusafont (D. Barcelona-Unidad Asociada CSIC), E-08201 Sabadell, Spain.


The Vallesian Crisis involved the extinction of most of the hominoids that settled successfully in Europe during the middle and early Late Miocene, including Dryopithecus, Ankarapithecus and Graecopithecus. This event has been dated at 9.6 Ma, predating by more than one million years the spread of the C4 grasses and the retreat of forests over large parts of the globe at 7-8 Ma. The finding of macrofloral remains in the Terrassa section (Vallès-Penedès Basin) sheds new light on the nature of vegetational change associated with the hominoid extinction. This section presents an abundant late Vallesian vertebrate fauna and has been accurately dated at 9.2 - 9 Ma by paleomagnetism. Therefore, it provides the best indication of the kind of vegetation that occupied the area after the Vallesian Crisis. It is suggested that the extinction of the late Miocene Western European hominoids was not related to the spread of grasses, but to a significant increase of a floral association dominated by deciduous trees.

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