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J Hum Evol. 2007 Oct;53(4):331-49. Epub 2007 Aug 27.

Paleoenvironment of Dryopithecus brancoi at Rudabánya, Hungary: evidence from dental meso- and micro-wear analyses of large vegetarian mammals.

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Zoological Institute and Museum, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.


The environment of the hominoid Dryopithecus brancoi at Rudabánya (Late Miocene of Hungary) is reconstructed here using the dietary traits of fossil ruminants and equids. Two independent approaches, dental micro- and meso-wear analyses, are applied to a sample of 73 specimens representing three ruminants: Miotragocerus sp. (Bovidae), Lucentia aff. pierensis (Cervidae), Micromeryx flourensianus (Moschidae), and one equid, Hippotherium intrans (Equidae). The combination of meso- and micro-wear signatures provides both long- and short-term dietary signals, and through comparisons with extant species, the feeding styles of the fossil species are reconstructed. Both approaches categorize the cervid as an intermediate feeder engaged in both browsing and grazing. The bovid Miotragocerus sp. is depicted as a traditional browser. Although the dental meso-wear pattern of the moschid has affinities with intermediate feeders, its dental micro-wear pattern also indicates significant intake of fruits and seeds. Hippotherium intrans was not a grazer and its dental micro-wear pattern significantly differs from that of living browsers, which may suggest that the fossil equid was engaged both in grazing and browsing. However, the lack of extant equids which are pure browsers prevents any definitive judgment on the feeding habits of Hippotherium. Based on these dietary findings, the Rudabánya paleoenvironment is reconstructed as a dense forest. The presence of two intermediate feeders indicates some clearings within this forest; however the absence of grazers suggests that these clearings were most likely confined. To demonstrate the ecological diversity among the late Miocene hominoids in Europe, the diet and habitat of Dryopithecus brancoi and Ouranopithecus macedoniensis (Greece) are compared.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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