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Stratified Pleistocene vertebrates with a new record of a jaguar-sized pantherine (Panthera cf. gombaszogensis) from northern Saudi Arabia

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Stimpson, C. M., Breeze, P. S., Clark-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H. S., Jennings, R., Parton, A., et al. (2015). Stratified Pleistocene vertebrates with a new record of a jaguar-sized pantherine (Panthera cf. gombaszogensis) from northern Saudi Arabia. Quaternary International, 382, 168-180. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.049.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-E8D1-B
Abstract
The reconstruction of Pleistocene faunas and environments of the Arabian Peninsula is critical to understanding faunal exchange and dispersal between Africa and Eurasia. However, the documented Quaternary vertebrate record of the Peninsula is currently sparse and poorly understood. Small collections have provided a rare insight into the Pleistocene vertebrate communities of northern Arabia, but the chronostratigraphic context of these collections is not clear. Resolving the taxonomic and chronostratigraphic affinities of this fauna is critical to emerging Quaternary frameworks. Here, we summarise recent investigations of the fossiliferous locality of Ti's al Ghadah in the southwestern Nefud. Excavations yielded well-preserved fossil bones in a secure stratigraphic context, establishing the potential of this site to make a significant contribution to our understanding of vertebrate diversity and biogeography in the Pleistocene of Arabia. We describe the site and report our preliminary observations of newly-recovered stratified vertebrate remains, at present dated to the Middle Pleistocene, which include oryx (Oryx sp.), fox (Vulpes sp.), and notably stratified remains of the Elephantidae and a grebe (Tachybaptus sp.). Here, we give special attention to post-cranial evidence that confirms the presence of a jaguar-sized pantherine, which we refer to the Eurasian jaguar (Panthera cf. gombaszogensis). The occurrence of this taxon during the Middle Pleistocene has important implications for existing biostratigraphical and biogeographical models and for palaeoecological reconstructions of the southern Nefud at that time.