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First report of Quaternary mammals from the Qalehjough area, Lut Desert, Eastern Iran

Narges Hashemi, Alireza Ashouri, Mansour Aliabadian, M.H. Mahmudy Gharaie, Antonio Sánchez Marco, and Julien Louys

Plain Language Abstract

Fossils recovered from the Qalehjough fossil site represent a rare mammalian record from the Lut Desert in eastern Iran. The presence of an extinct genus of rhinoceros and a caballoid horse from these deposits indicates that more humid and wooded environments existed in Iran during the Pleistocene. The eventually disappearance of these taxa are most likely related to environmental changes.

Resumen en Español

Primera cita de mamíferos del Cuaternario del área de Qalehjough, desierto de Lut, Irán Oriental

El estudio taxonómico de los restos de mamíferos cuaternarios del yacimiento paleontológico de Qalehjough, en el este de Irán, ha dado lugar a la identificación de dos órdenes de mamíferos, Artiodactyla y Perissodactyla, con cuatro familias y seis taxones, destacando el hallazgo de Stephanorhinus y un caballo "caballoide". Estos restos han implicado la primera oportunidad para estudiar las asociaciones faunísticas del Cuaternario tardío en las partes septentrionales del desierto de Lut, en el este de Irán. El conjunto faunístico de Qalehjough documenta algunas características zoogeográficas de la Meseta Iraquí oriental y sugiere que los paleoambientes en esta parte de Irán durante el Pleistoceno eran más húmedos y arbolados que en la actualidad. La desaparición de los rinocerontes y caballos "caballoides" de esta región es muy probablemente el resultado del cambio climático y la pérdida de hábitat concomitante.

Palabras clave: Cuaternario; Irán oriental; paleoambiente; Perissodactyla; Artiodactyla

Traducción: Enrique Peñalver (Sociedad Española de Paleontología)

Résumé en Français

Première description de mammifères quaternaires provenant de la zone de Qalehjough, désert de Lout, est de l'Iran

L'étude taxinomique des restes de mammifères quaternaires du site fossilifère de Qalehjough, est de l'Iran, a permis l'identification de deux ordres de mammifères, Artiodactyla et Perissodactyla, avec quatre familles et six taxons, avec notamment les découvertes de Stephanorhinus et d'un équidé caballoïde. Ces restes ont permis pour la première fois d'examiner des assemblages fauniques des régions du nord du désert de Lout, à l'est de l'Iran. L'assemblage faunique de Qalehjough documente certaines caractéristiques zoogéographiques de la partie orientale du Plateau iranien, et suggère que les paléoenvironnements dans cette partie de l'Iran pendant le Pléistocène étaient plus humides et boisés qu'aujourd'hui. La disparition des rhinocéros et des équidés caballoïdes de cette région est très vraisemblablement lié à un changement de climat et la perte d'habitats en découlant.

Mots-clés : Quaternaire ; est de l'Iran ; paléoenvironnement ; Perissodactyla ; Artiodactyla

Translator: Antoine Souron

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Erster Nachweis quartärer Säugetiere aus dem Qalehjough-Gebiet, Lut-Wüste, östlicher Iran

Bei taxonomischen Untersuchungen quartärer Säugetiere aus der Qalehjough-Fundstelle (östlicher Iran) wurden die zwei Säugetierordnungen Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla mit vier Familien und sechs Taxa identifiziert. Besonders erwähnenswert sind dabei die Funde von Stephanorhinus und eines caballoiden Pferdes. Diese Funde stellten die erste Möglichkeit, spätquartäre Faunenassemblagen im Norden der Lut-Wüste im östlichen Iran zu untersuchen. Die Qalehjough-Faunenassemblage dokumentiert einige zoogeographische Merkmale des ostiranischen Plateaus und deutet darauf hin, dass die Paläoumwelt in diesem Teil Irans während des Pleistozäns feuchter und bewaldeter war als heute. Das Verschwinden der Nashörner und caballoider Pferde aus dieser Region ist höchstwahrscheinlich das Ergebnis eines Klimawandels und des damit einhergehenden Habitatverlustes.

Schlüsselwörter: Quartär; östlicher Iran; Paläoumwelt; Perissodactyla; Artiodactyla

Translator: Eva Gebauer

Arabic

539 arab

Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa

 

 

narges hashemiNarges Hashemi. Department of Geology, International Campus, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Narges Hashemi is vertebrate paleontologist and palaeoecologist of quaternary; her favorite is paleobiogeograpgy, mass extinctions, paleoenvironmental reconstructions and archeozoology. she earned her Master of paleontology and stratigraphy from Ferdowsi university of Mashhad, in 2003, and currently working on the recent project "Reconstruction of paleoenvironment of late Quaternary of Eastern Iran based on the paleozoology data"as her Ph.D thesis

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ashouriAlireza Ashouri. Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. Corresponding author. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alireza Ashouri is paleontologist and professor of geology in the department of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. He is specialist of conodont fossil, and now, is supervisor of some project of Master and Ph.D. students.

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aliabadianMansour Aliabadian. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran; and Research Department of Zoological Innovations (RDZI), Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mansour Aliabadian is a vertebrate phylogentist at Ferdowsi University-of Mashhad in Iran. He received degrees from the University of Tarbian Modares (MSc) and the University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.), and was a postdoctoral fellow with the Evolutionary department and Zoological Museum of Amsterdam. His current research is on systematics and biogeography of vertebrates, especially the evolution of Birds. He is also interested in phylogeny, phylogeography, and genetics of vertebrates. He is currently an Asscociated Professore at the department of Biology, Ferdowsi university of Mashhad

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gharaieM.H. Mahmudy Gharaie. Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

M.H. Mahmudy Gharaie is assistant professor of geology department in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. He is sedimentologist and received his Ph.D from Tokyo University in 2002. He is currently supervisor of some project of Master and Ph.D students.

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sanchez marcoAntonio Sánchez Marco. Catalan Institute of Paleontology Miquel Crusafont, Barcelona, Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Antonio Sánchez Marco is specialist in fossil birds -systematics, evolution, geographic distribution in the past and paleoenvironmental reconstructions-. A research project on the first (neogene) fauna of the Canary Islands is now his main point of interest. He is currently working in the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Barcelona, Spain.

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julien louysJulien Louys. Department of Archaeology and Natural History, School of Culture, History, and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Coombs Building, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 2601. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Julien is a vertebrate palaeontologist and palaeoecologist. He received a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Newcastle, Australia and a Bachelor of Sciences (Hons) and Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He completed a three year postdoctoral research assistant position at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, examining the use of taxon-free variables in palaeoecological analyses. Following the completion of this project, he worked for 12 months at the Queensland Museum as curator of Geosciences. He successfully secured a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2012 with projects examining Australian marsupial palaeontology, particularly Pliocene faunas, as well as community ecology of Pleistocene/Holocene small mammal assemblages. He has also been involved in hominin and large mammal palaeoecological research of the Plio-Pleistocene of East Africa and Southeast Asia, and is currently Executive Editor of Palaeontologia Electronica. Julien is currently working on the project "From Sunda to Sahul: understanding modern human dispersal, adaptation and behaviour en route to Australia". 

 

FIGURE 1. Locations of the Qalehjough fossil site, near Faizabad of Khorassan Razavi province, and other Quaternary fossil sites in Iran. Fossil vertebrate assemblages from these sites consist of following elements (E = Equus, R = Rhinocerotidae, and C = Caprinae): Qalehjough (E, R, C), Tapeh Naderi (E, C), Shadiakh (E, C), Qazvin (E, R, C), Saveh (E, R), Luristan (E), Qaleh bozi (E, R, C), Kermanshah (E, R), Shahreza (E), and Shahre Soukhteh (E).

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FIGURE 2. 1, Map depicting major cities and local villages around the Qalehjough fossil site. 2, Photograph of the fossil bearing sediments (photographed by Narges Hashemi).

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FIGURE 3. Stratigraphic section and the situation of fossil occurrence in Qalehjough fossil site (drawn by Narges Hashemi).

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FIGURE 4. Photographs of selected vertebrate fossils from the Qalehjough fossil site. 1-2, a right P 4 of Stephanorhinus cf. kirchbergensis (QHJ-45) in lateral (1) and occlusal (2) views. 3-5, three incisors of Equus (QHJ-12-14) in lateral views. 6-7, a right M 3 of Equus (QHJ-22) in lateral (6) and occlusal (7) views. 8-9, a left M 3 of Equus (QHJ-42) in lateral (8) and occlusal (9) views. 10, a first phalange of Sus ( in lateral view. 11, a left mandible of Ovis aries with P 4 (QHJ-44) in lateral view. 12-13, a left M 2 of O. aries (QHJ-5) in lateral (12) and occlusal (13) views. 14, a left mandible of Bos (QHJ-1) in lateral view. 15-16, a horn core (mesiodistal part) of Bos (QHJ-26) in internal (15) and external (16) views. 17-18, a left M 2 of Gazella (QHJ-23) in lateral (17) and occlusal (18) views. Scale bars equal 1 mm.

figure4

 

TABLE 1. Measurements of the Qalehjough fossils examined in this study. Abbreviations: BP, greatest breath of proximal end; Gbd, greatest breath of the distal end; GL, greatest length; GW, greatest width; HC, crown height; OL, occlusal length; OW, occlusal width; PL, protocone length; SB, smallest breath.

Taxa Bone and teeth Specimen No. Measurement (mm)
Stephanorhinus cf. kirchbergensis Right P 4 QHJ-45 OL 59
    OW 45
    HC 40
Equus sp. Incisor QHJ-12 GL 50
    GW 12
Incisor QHJ-13 GL 55
    GW 15
Incisor QHJ-14 GL 55
    GW 14
Right M 3 QHJ-22 OL 31
    OW 28
    PL 10
    HC 50
Left M 3 QHJ-42 OL 42
    OW 34
    HC 59
Suidae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Sus Phalange QHJ-37 GL 35
    BP 17
    SB 12
    Gbd 9
Caprinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Ovis aries Left M 2 QHJ-5 GL 45
    GW 30
Mandible QHJ-44 GL 42
Bovinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Bos Mandible QHJ-1 GL 150
    GW 80
Horn core QHJ-26 GL 101
    GW 39
Bovinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Gazella Left M 2 QHJ-23 GL 22
    GW 14

 

 

TABLE 2. The number of identified specimens (NISP) of fossils from the Qalehjough site.

Taxa NISP % NISP
Stephanorhinus cf. kirchbergensis 1 2.1
Equus sp. 7 14.5
Suidae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Sus 2 4.3
Caprinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Ovis aries and Caprinae indet. 18 38.5
Bovinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Bos 17 36.3
Bovinae gen. et sp. indet. cf. Gazella 2 4.3