Bollettino SPI Vol. 60 (3)

Published in December 2021


  • Bisconti M., Damarco P.,  Santagati P., Pavia M. & Carnevale G. (2021)

Taphonomic patterns in the fossil record of baleen whales from the Pliocene of Piedmont, north-west Italy (Mammalia, Cetacea, Mysticeti)
pp. 183-211

The Tertiary Piedmont Basin (TPB) is located in north-western Italy and represents the western portion of a long and wide basin occupying the area that is now known as the Po Plain. Largely continuous sedimentation occurred in this basin from the early Miocene to the Pleistocene; two Pliocene marine formations are well known from this basin: Argille Azzurre and Sabbie d’Asti formations. Both these formations are rich in marine fossils including numerous cetacean specimens. We analysed the Pliocene mysticete partition of the TPB cetacean record including 55 baleen whale specimens from two museum collections to interpret the taphonomic factors influencing the preservation potential of the basin. Careful observations of bones were performed to find evidence of causes of death, floating and transport, interactions with sharks, timings of burial and whale fall activity. Analysis of preservation of specific bones (vertebrae, mandible, forelimb) was performed in order to discriminate between different mechanisms of transport in the water column or on the seafloor. We found that biostratinomic agents were active all along the basin in both the formations; these included scavenging, bottom currents and the activities of bacteria and whale fall communities. Intense shark-cetacean interactions are recorded by shark bite traces on mysticete bones. Patterns of preservation of vertebrae and loss of paired appendages are used as evidence of floating and transport on the seafloor. A mix of early and late burials is inferred on a specimen basis allowing for the characterisation of the complete biostratinomic history of each mysticete specimen.
We suggest that many factors are responsible for good preservation in the TPB mysticete record; these include relative timing of burial and intensity of biostratinomic processes active prior to burial.

  • Viaretti M., Crippa G., Posenato R., Shen S. & Angiolini L. (2021)

Lopingian brachiopods from the Abadeh section (Central Iran) and their biostratigraphic implications
pp. 213-254

The Abadeh section is one of the most important Neotethyan sections, as it records a continuous marine sedimentary succession across the Permian-Triassic boundary. Although this succession yields a rich brachiopod fauna, this has never been studied in detail. Instead, most of the studies carried out so far have been focused on the position of the Permian-Triassic boundary, which is still debated. Here, we present a systematic study of the brachiopod fauna from the Hambast Formation, which comprises 30 species of the orders Productida, Orthotetida, Orthida, Athyridida and Spiriferida. Brachiopod biodiversity is relatively high and constant in the Wuchiapingian part of the section. But in Changhsingian, just a single species occurs: Paracrurithyris pygmaea. Also, species of bivalves of the genus Claraia occur within an upper Griesbachian bed of the Elikah Formation. Using the Unitary Associations method, we compared the stratigraphic distribution of the brachiopods in the Abadeh section with those in the Julfa section, another important Permian-Triassic succession in North-West Iran. Based on this analysis, three Wuchiapingian brachiopod biozones and one Changhsingian brachiopod biozone have been detected and correlated to the conodont biozonation; these biozones are the Araxilevis intermedius-Leptodus nobilis Biozone, the Permophricodothyris ovata-Araxathyris quadrilobata Biozone, and the Haydenella kiangsiensis-Transcaucasathyris minor Biozone in the Wuchiapingian, and the Paracrurithyris pygmaea Biozone in the Changhsingian. Most of the biozones can be correlated through Iran and Transcaucasia, showing the potential of brachiopods for correlation at a regional scale in the Upper Permian.

  • Fabbi S., Romano M., Strani F., Sardella F. & Bellucci L. (2021)

The Pleistocene vertebrate fauna of the Oricola-Carsoli intermontane Basin (Latium-Abruzzi, Italy): state of the art and historical review
pp. 255-268

A review of the abundant vertebrate fauna found in the Quaternary deposits of the Oricola-Carsoli intermontane Basin is here presented, with a brief excursus on the history of the research in this area and some biochronological considerations on these faunal assemblages. Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Hippopotamus cf. antiquus, and Stephanorhinus sp. remains were found in the 19th century in the municipalities of Vallinfreda and Riofreddo and only described in pioneering studies by the Italian geologists and palaeontologists Giuseppe Ponzi and Alessandro Portis. After some accidental findings of other bones, never described, a hippopotamus was found in 1980 in Riofreddo and, subsequently, during fieldworks led by Aldo Giacomo Segre of the Italian Institute of Human Palaeontology (IsIPU), a very rich vertebrate fauna was found in the municipality of Oricola (L’Aquila). All the available bone material, most of which never studied, described, or mentioned before, is currently stored in different repositories and here has been re-evaluated and briefly described. Two distinct faunal assemblages have been detected; the older is ascribable to the late Villafranchian ELMA (European Land Mammal Age) and is characterised by Pseudodama cf. nestii, Leptobos aff. furtivus, Equus stenonis, Stephanorhinus etruscus, Mammuthus meridionalis, and other taxa. The younger assemblage is ascribable to the Galerian ELMA and is characterised by Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Hippopotamus cf. antiquus and Stephanorhinus sp.

  • Soldan D.M. & Petrizzo M.R. (2021) – Short Note

Taxonomic notes on the early Eocene planktonic foraminifer Globanomalina rakhiensis Warraich et al., 2000.
pp. 269-275


Adunanza dell’Assemblea dei Soci della Società Paleontologica Italiana – 17 Giugno 2021
pp. 277-282

  • Cherchi A. (2021)

In memory of Rolf Schroeder (1936-2020) – Obituary
pp. i-vii

  • Faraoni P. & Sassaroli S. (2021)

In memory of Federico Venturi (1940-2020) – Obituary
pp. ix-x