Maschenko E.N., Gablina S.S., Tesakov A.S., Simakova A.N. 2006. The Sevsk woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) site in Russia: Taphonomic, biological and behavioral interpretations. Quaternary International, vols. 142-143, pp. 147-165.

Abstract. Excavations at Sevsk, Bryansk Region, Russia, by the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1988–1991 recovered 3800 bones of woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius Blum.) representing a minimum of 33 individuals. The locality is one of the largest naturally occurring deposits of mammoth remains in Europe and is inferred to be a catastrophic death assemblage. The material includes five skeletons of juvenile mammoths, from 1 month to 6 or 7 years of age, as well as partial skeletons and isolated bones of adult individuals. A femur and humerus of an approximately 10–12-month-old fetus are also among the finds. Morphological features suggest that the Sevsk mammoths belonged to one family group; the age structure and sexual composition of the assemblage do not differ significantly from that of a family group of Modern African elephants. In contrast to other localities in Siberia and central Russia, relatively more (about 45% of individuals) prepubertal animals are preserved at Sevsk. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the mammoths died about 14,000 years ago. Data from diatoms, pollen and rodents, as well as archeological evidence, corroborate this age, and provide the basis for a paleoenvironmental reconstruction at the end of the Valdaian Glaciation in western Russia.

Rossina V.V., Kruskop S.V., Tesakov A.S., Titov V.V. 2006. The first record of Late Miocene bat from European Russia. Acta zoologica cracoviensia, vol. 49A, nos. 1-2, pp. 125-133.

Abstract. A single bone fragment of a Vespertilionine bat was discovered in the rich Late Turolian (MN12-13) vertebrate fauna of Morskaya 2 site near Taganrog (Sea of Azov region). This is the first record of bat remains from Late Miocene deposits of the European Russia. The morphology of the discovered fossil, represented by mandibular fragment with two molars, resembles the recent genera Vespertilio and Eptesicus. Comparative analysis with recent and fossil species of these two taxa allows us to assign this fossil to Vespertilio cf. villanyiensis.

Vangengeim E.A., Lungu A.N., Tesakov A.S. 2006. Age of the Vallesian Lower Boundary (Continental Miocene of Europe). Stratigraphy and Geological Correlation, 2006, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 655–667.

Abstract. The Vallesian lower boundary and “Hipparion-datum” are estimated as ranging in age from 11.2 to 10.7 Ma in Central to Western Europe and Western Asia. Judging from complete sections of Sarmatian marine sediments in the Tamanskii Peninsula and Transcaucasia with known paleomagnetic characteristics, the above dates correspond to the lower upper Sarmatian (Khersonian) of the Eastern Paratethys, although in Moldova and Ukraine the earliest hipparion remains are associated with the middle Sarmatian (Bessarabian) sediments. The normally magnetized middle Sarmatian deposits in hipparion localities of Moldova are correlative with an upper part of Chron C5An (upper boundary 11.9 Ma old) or, less likely, with Subchron C5r2n (base 11.5 Ma old). Consequently, the first occurrence of hipparions in southeastern Europe is recorded in the Middle Miocene, i.e., 0.7 m.y. (or 0.3 m.y.) earlier than the date of 11.2 Ma formerly accepted for the Vallesian lower boundary in Europe. Possible reasons for disagreements in age determination of the Vallesian base are discussed.

Tesakov A.S., Dodonov A.E., Titov V.V., Trubikhin V.M. 2007. Plio-pleistocene geological record and small mammal faunas, eastern shore of the Azov Sea, Southern European Russia. Quaternary International. 160,1, 57-69.

Abstract. The shoreline of the Taganrog Gulf of the Azov Sea at the mouth of Don River provides a series of extended Upper Pliocene and Quaternary sections that have been actively studied in the last century. This extraglacial region had a complex sedimentary history combining subaerial aggradation with marine, fluvial, and deltaic sedimentation. The well-exposed stratigraphical sequence and abundant palaeontological record continuously attract geologists and highlight the region as one of international importance for the addressing of numerous problems of Late Pliocene and Quaternary stratigraphy and palaeogeography. Fossil mammalian faunas of the region include important Eurasian biostratigraphical markers such as Stenocranius ex gr. hintoni-gregaloides, Lagurini spp., and Mimomys savini. For many years, fossil remains of mammals provide decisive clues to the geological history of the region. Recent geological studies of reference sections have provided data on small mammals, palaeomagnetism and palaeogeographical reconstructions in the northeastern part of the Azovian Region. Mammalian assemblages indicate the presence of the Late Pliocene, late Early Pleistocene, Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene levels and, in addition, provide a clear biostratigraphical context for the Early Middle Pleistocene transition.

Kalthoff D., Mörs T., Tesakov A.S. 2007. Late Pleistocene small mammals from the Wannenköpfe volcanoes (Neuwied Basin, western Germany) with remarks on the stratigraphic range of Arvicola terrestrisGeobios, 40, 5, pp. 609–623.

Abstract. Redeposited loess sediments from a Pleistocene crater filling in the Neuwied Basin (western Germany) yielded a small mammal fauna mainly composed of arvicoline rodents. The occurrence of rare faunal elements such as Sorex minutissimus, Sicista subtilis, and a species of Microtus (Terricola) is remarkable. Based on the evolutionary level of Arvicola terrestris, the biostratigraphic age of the fossiliferous horizon is transitional between late Eemian and early Weichselian. This conclusion is partly supported by the generalized ecological requirements of a few dominant rodent species. The fauna contributes to the knowledge of this time period, which is poorly documented in western Germany. A new character of the m1 is proposed for the discrimination of Sicista betulina and S. subtilis. To avoid further confusion in the specific assignment of transitional Arvicola specimens from the late Middle Pleistocene to early Late Pleistocene, we propose the formal taxonomic boundary between chronospecies A. mosbachensis and A. terrestris to be shifted from SDQ value 100 to SDQ value 120.

Tesakov A.S., Vangengeim E.A., Pevzner M.A. 2007. Arvicolid zonation of continental Pliocene deposits of East Europe. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 259: 229 – 236.

Abstract. Arvicolid-based regional biostratigraphic zones were recently proposed for the Quaternary of southern East Europe (Pevzner et al. 2001, vangengeim et al. 2001). This work has led to a detailed biostratigraphic zonal scale for the Late Pliocene continental deposits of southern East Europe (Tesakov 2004). The taxonomic analysis of vole assemblages from the Northern Black Sea Region, from the Sea of Azov Region, from Northern Caucasus, from the Volga Region, as well as from the south Urals granted six (MNR1–6) concurrent range zones (CRZ) of arvicolids of four evolutionary lineages: Borsodia – Prolagurus, Mimomys hajnackensis – M. pliocaenicus, Mimomys hintoni – M. pusillus, and Pitymimomys inceptor – P. pitymyoides. The Early Pliocene record of the region includes five arvicolid range zones (RZ) based on the succession of forms in the Promimomys and Pliomys groups. The successive zones of Pliomys destinatus, Pliomys kowalskii, Promimomys moldavicus, Promimomys ex gr. antiquus, Promimomys insuliferus are recognized. In terms of biostratigraphy, zones of our usage correspond to chronozones of International Stratigraphic Guide (1999) and to their time equivalents. Evolutionary stages within each lineage were established mainly on the progressive increase of hypsodonty using rabeder’s (1981) quantitative indices (HH-index). We explain how we defined the boundaries and age of each zone; we also describe their type and reference localities as well as their faunal content. Boundary ages were given by combined paleomagnetic and biostratigraphic data, as well as by molluscan faunas in localities confined to marine deposits.

Lebedev V.S., Bannikova A.A., Tesakov A.S., Abramson N.I. 2007. Molecular phylogeny of the genus Alticola (Cricetidae, Rodentia) as inferred from the sequence of the cytochrome b gene. Zoologica Scripta, 36, 6, pp. 547-563.

Abstract. Central Asian mountain voles Alticola is one of the least known groups of voles both in evolution and life history. This genus includes three subgenera Alticola s.str., Aschizomys and Platycranius, and belongs to the tribe Clethrionomyini comprising also red-backed voles Clethrionomys and oriental voles Eothenomys. In order to elucidate the phylogenetic relationships within Alticola and to examine its position within the tribe, mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene variation was estimated, and the results were compared with morphological and palaeontological data. Maximum likelihood (ML), neighbor-joining (NJ), maximum parsimony (MP) and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses show that the genus Alticola does not appear to be a monophyletic group since the representatives of Aschizomys branch within Clethrionomys, whereas two other subgenera (Alticola and Platycranius) form a separate monophyletic clade. Flat-headed vole Alticola (Platycranius) strelzowi is nested within the nominative subgenus showing close association with A. (Alticola) semicanus. Surprisingly, the two species of Aschizomys do not form a monophyletic group. The results of the relaxed-clock analysis suggest that the Alticola clade splits from the Clethrionomys stem in early Middle Pliocene while basal cladogenetic events within Alticola s.str. dates back to the late Middle to early Late Pliocene. A scenario of evolution in Clethrionomyini is put forward implying rapid parallel morphological changes in different lineages leading to the formation of Alticola-like biomorphs adapted to mountain and arid petrophilous habitats.

Martin R.A., Tesakov A.S., Agusti J., Marcolini F. 2007. Preliminary Examination of Select Arvicolid Rodent Sequences: Recognizing Global and Regional Patterns. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, suppl. no. 3, 112A-113A.

Abstract. Biostratigraphic hypotheses based on the chronological distribution of Pliocene and Pleistocene arvicolid rodents were examined from the Central Great Plains of the USA, various basins of southern Spain (Baza, Guadix, Zujar, Jucar), eastern Europe and various short sections in Italy. These sequences were compared to the European Neogene rodent biochronology in an initial attempt to identify global versus regional patterns in arvicolid evolution and dispersal. The correlated appearance of various evolutionary stages on a global scale is astounding, testifying to rapid dispersal of adaptive dental morphotypes and, presumably, behaviors and reproductive strategies. One of the most coordinated/synchronous events of the middle latitudes in Old and New World arvicolid record is the decline and extinction of many lineages of voles with molar roots during the Late Pliocene, and the subsequent nearly synchronous appearance of Microtus throughout the Horactic realm. Nevertheless, it is likely that the Microtus immigration event occurred later in Spain than elsewhere, testifying to the filtering effect of the Pyrenees Mountains. Borsodia is more common in steppe belt of western Asia and eastern Europe and only occasionally occurs in Western Europe. Pliomys appears in the south of Europe in Late Early Pliocene but its subsequent evolution occurs in Western Europe. The Pliophenacomyinae is an endemic North American group. The systematics of early Ogmodontomys, Ophiomys and Mimomys needs to be reviewed; some of these taxa may be better viewed as slightly advanced Promimomys related to P. antiquus Zazhigin.

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