Original paper

Description of a new deer species (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the Early Pliocene of Eastern Europe, with a review of early dispersals and palaeobiogeography of the subfamily Cervinae

Croitor, Roman

Abstract

A new deer species, Praeelaphus australorientalis sp. nov., is described from the Kuchurgan beds dated back to the Lower Pliocene (European Lang Mammal Zones MN14 – beginning of MN15). The new species is characterized by a small " Dama-like" body size, relatively short braincase with respect to its breadth, and advanced morphology of four-pointed antlers. The morphological affinities and the systematical position of the new species and the genus Praeelaphus as a whole are discussed. The article also proposes a discussion of the Early Pliocene deer dispersals that changed the systematic composition of cervids in Western Eurasia and the palaeobiogeography of the subfamily Cervinae in Western Eurasia and the Indian Subcontinent. The dispersal capacity in plesiometacarpal cervids is regarded as an evolutionary advantage correlated to the body size exceeding the body mass threshold of ca. 60 kg.

Keywords

dispersalpraeelaphustaxonomybody sizekuchurgan gravelpalaeozoo- geographycervinae