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Volume 46, n° 1-2
pages 63-75 (janvier 2013)
Doi : 10.1016/j.geobios.2012.10.001
Received : 30 November 2011 ;  accepted : 11 October 2012
New discoveries on the giant hedgehog Deinogalerix from the Miocene of Gargano (Apulia, Italy)

Boris Villier a, , Lars W. Van Den Hoek Ostende b, John De Vos b, Marco Pavia a
a Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, via Valperga Caluso 35, 10125 Torino, Italy 
b Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden, The Netherlands 

Corresponding author.

During the Miocene, the Abruzzo/Apulia region (Italy), isolated from the continent, was the theatre of the evolution of a vertebrate ecosystem in insular context. During the Late Miocene, the protagonists of this ecosystem called “Mikrotia fauna” show a high endemic speciation level, presenting spectacular giant and dwarf species of mammals and birds. Deinogalerix is one of the most uncommon forms of this peculiar fauna. It is the largest Galericinae that ever lived. From Gargano (Apulia, Italy) deposits (also called “Terre Rosse”), Deinogalerix has been, since its discovery in the 1970s’, the subject of two publications in which various morphotypes were described. Its presence is also attested at Scontrone (Abruzzo, Italy). In 2005, the new Miocene fissure “Mikrotia 013” (M013) was found in the Gargano area at Cava Dell’Erba by a team of the Università degli studi di Torino. The study of the micromammals, and in particular the presence of an archaic form of Mikrotia , attests that M013 is the oldest fissure known to date. All the Deinogalerix remains come from the smallest morphotype ever found. The morphological features (other than size) allow us to describe the new species Deinogalerix masinii . It presents a large variability of dental and mandibular features expressed in mosaic patterns within the material: the robustness of the upper and lower P3 and P4, and the characteristic trigonid of m1 of the genus; the archaic morphology of the maxilla and the mandible; the abrading pattern of the teeth are unique for Deinogalerix . These new remains allow us to update the knowledge of Deinogalerix . The suit of characters testified that D. masinii nov. sp. is an archaic form on the evolutionary trend toward the most derived representatives of the genus. The affinities of Deinogalerix with the Parasorex group are confirmed, but the time of immigration in Gargano remains debated.

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Keywords : Galericinae, New species, Deinogalerix masinii nov. sp., Insular gigantism, Mikrotia fauna, Mikrotia 013, (M013) fissure

 Corresponding editor: Giorgio Carnevale.

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