Amphibians and squamate reptiles from the stratigraphic unit Xb of El Salt (Middle Palaeolithic; Alcoy, Spain): palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic implications


The locality of El Salt (Middle Paleolithic, Alcoy, Spain) is mainly known by having one of the youngest Neanderthals records of the southeastern Iberian Peninsula. In this work, we have analysed the herpetofaunal fossils from the upper part of stratigraphic unit Xb, dated at 52.3 ± 4.6 ka (MIS 3). The faunal list is composed by three taxa of anurans (Alyte obstetricans, Bufo bufo s.l., and Epidalea calamita), one taxon of blanid (Blanus cinereus s.l.), two taxa of lizards (Chalcides bedriagai and cf. Acanthodactylus erythrurus), and one taxon of snakes (cf. Rhinechis scalaris). All of them have a broad distribution range in the Mediterranean, with wide ecological preferences range. This association of amphibians and reptiles from the Unit Xb suggests a slightly warmer and more humid climate than the current one; with an annual temperature range less accused and a similar seasonality of the rainfall than it is recorded nowadays in Alcoy. These results may correspond to a warm period (Daansgard-Oeschger event) during the MIS 3. A landscape composed by bushland and forest patched in which some open areas were present, with presence of permanent water bodies in the nearby areas, would characterize the surroundings areas of El Salt.

Palabras clave

Amphibia, Squamata, Middle Palaeolithic, El Salt, Iberian Peninsula

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