Ungulate dietary adaptations and palaeoecology of the Middle Pleistocene site of Fontana Ranuccio (Anagni, Central Italy)

Strani, F., DeMiguel, D., Bona, F., Sardella, R., Biddittu, I., Bruni, L., De Castro, A., Guadagnoli, F., Bellucci, L. (2018). Ungulate dietary adaptations and palaeoecology of the Middle Pleistocene site of Fontana Ranuccio (Anagni, Central Italy). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 496, 238-247.

The Middle Pleistocene site of Fontana Ranuccio (Anagni Basin, Central Italy) has yielded nearly 25,000 remains
belonging to large and small vertebrates, including four isolated teeth of Homo sp., and a rich lithic assemblage
containing bone tools. Here we provide new dental wear analyses of the ungulate community to improve the
palaeoenvironmental reconstruction for the site. Analyses indicate a mostly browsing diet for the cervids and a
grazing diet for the perissodactyls Stephanorhinus sp. and Equus cf. E. mosbachensis, suggesting a range of habitats
that spanned from forests to open grasslands. A discrepancy between mesowear and microwear results is observed
in the case of the bovid, Bos primigenius; this can be tentatively explained as resulting from a temporal
switch towards a sub-optimal diet, possibly reflecting the effects of marked seasonality. Findings shed new light
on the structure of the 400 kyr ecosystems that existed during the early occupation of Homo in Europe.

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