Bollettino SPI Vol. 55 (1)

Published in June 2016


  • Cherin M., Iurino, D.A., Njau J.K. & Masao F.T. (2016)

New material of hyaenids (Mammalia, Carnivora) from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (Early Pleistocene)
pp. 1-9


The Hyaenidae are today a small carnivoran family including only four monospecific genera, although their paleodiversity was very high from the Miocene to the Pleistocene, with a paleobiogeographic distribution spanning Eurasia, Africa and North America. The living species Crocuta crocutaParahyaena brunnea and Proteles cristatus are limited to the African Continent, while the distribution of Hyaena hyaena includes northern, central and eastern Africa and southwestern Asia. The paleontological record suggests that forms very similar to the extant ones lived in Africa at least from the late Pliocene. Here we report new hyaenid craniodental material from the renowned site of Olduvai Gorge, in northern Tanzania. The fossils were found in three different Olduvai localities (FC West, MCK East and Loc. 64 in Naisiusiu area), within layers spanning stratigraphically from Bed I to Upper Bed II (Early Pleistocene). We refer the remains to Hyaena sp., Crocuta cf. ultra and Crocuta sp., supporting the occurrence of at least two hyenas (the smaller and slenderer Hyaena and the large and robust Crocuta) in the Olduvai Bed I-II carnivore guild.

Supplementary Online Material 1
Supplementary Online Material 2
Supplementary Online Material 3
  • Marramà G., Garbelli C. & Carnevale G. (2016)

A morphospace for the Eocene fish assemblage of Bolca, Italy: a window into the diversification and ecological rise to dominance of modern tropical marine fishes.
pp. 11-21


The celebrated Eocene fishes of Bolca, northeastern Italy, provide one of the earliest evidence of a modern tropical shallow marine fish assemblage, in the aftermath of the end-Cretaceous extinction. This fish assemblage has been traditionally interpreted as closely linked to a coral reef system based on a certain similarity in taxonomic composition with modern ecosystems. In this study, we use geometric morphometrics to compare the patterns of morphospace occupation and morphological variation between Eocene and extant tropical shallow water fish assemblages. Morphospace analysis revealed that there are not significant differences in morphospace occupation, and the Eocene fish assemblage shows a greater frequency of deep-bodied morphotypes and a higher morphological disparity compared to the extant tropical marine shallow-water assemblages. Because of the highly reduced reef-building potential of early Eocene coral communities and the extremely scarce evidence of corals in the Bolca area, the broad morphospace occupation and the high morphological richness observed for the Bolca assemblage suggest that an Eocene tropical non-coral reef setting shows higher, or at least similar, morphological diversity than modern coral reef-associated fish assemblages. Therefore, our paleontological evidence suggests that coral reefs may have played a secondary role in shaping the morphological richness of these fossil and extant tropical marine fish assemblages, and are consistent with the hypothesis of the rapid niche-filling and early saturation of the teleost morphospace after the end-Cretaceous extinction.

Supplementary Online Material 1
  • Esu, D., Girotti O. & Pisegna Cerone E. (2016)

Emmericia lucana n. sp. (Caenogastropoda) from the Middle Pleistocene of the Mercure Basin (southern Italy)
pp. 23-28


The intramontane Mercure Basin occupies a broad area within the Basilicata region (southern Apennines, Italy) located between Mt. Pollino to the SE and the Lauria Mts to the NW. It comprises non-marine deposits varying from coarse fluvial gravels and sands at the base, to fine, lacustrine, calcareous muds at the top. Large mammals, freshwater molluscs and tephrostratigraphical analyses indicate a Middle Pleistocene age for these deposits. A new extinct and endemic species, Emmericia lucana n. sp., representative of the Family Emmericiidae (Caenogastropoda, Truncatelloidea), was found among the rich malacological assemblages of the lacustrine layers and is herein described. It is the first record of the genus Emmericia Brusina, 1870 in the Middle Pleistocene of Italy.

  • Scanu G.G., Kustatscher, E., Pittau P- & van Konijnenburg-van Cittert J.H.A. (2016)

New insights into the Middle Jurassic floras of Sardinia (Italy) – The Miccolis Collection at the Museo di Storia Naturale of Venice, Italy
pp. 29-45


The fossil plants of the Domenico Miccolis Collection, stored at the Museo di Storia Naturale of Venice (Italy), are from the Middle Jurassic Genna Selole Formation of central Sardinia. The assemblage contains 11 taxa: Marattia intermedia, Phlebopteris muensteri, P. braunii, Coniopteris sp. cf. C. hymenophylloides, Dicksonia kendallii, Eboracia sp. cf. E. lobifolia, Cladophlebis sp., Weltrichia sp. cf. W. whitbiensis, Geinitzia divaricata, Brachyphyllum expansum and Carpolithes sp. 2. Six species are described for the first time from the Jurassic strata of Sardinia (and Italy), thus increasing the known biodiversity of the flora of this age from these regions. The newly identified taxa have several characters in common with the well-studied Yorkshire flora (UK) indicating strong floristic affinities between southern and western Europe during the Jurassic.

  • Danise S., Bertolaso L. & Dominici S. (2016)

Bathymodioline mussel dominated Miocene whale fall from Italy
pp. 47-53


The bones of an unidentified odontocete from the Langhian Pantano Formation (~ 15 million years ago), found near the town of Carpineti (Reggio Emilia), Northern Italy, are associated with more than two hundred specimens of the bathymodioline mussel Adipicola apenninica n. sp., rare specimens of Thyasira sp. and one Lucinidae indet. Based on comparisons with modern and other fossil whale fall communities, the fossil molluscs associated with the odontocete represent a whale fall community during the sulphophilic stage of the ecological succession. Our finding indicates the presence of chemosynthetic communities associated with organic remains in the proto- Mediterranean-Atlantic region at least from the middle Miocene. The previous connection of the Tethyan Realm with both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific, could have played a key role in the evolution and dispersal of bathymodiolins between the two regions.

  • Corradini C., Pondrelli M., Simonetto L., Corriga M.G., Spalletta C., Suttner T.J., Kido E., Mossoni A. & Serventi P. (2016)

Stratigraphy of the La Valute area (Mt. Zermula massif, Carnic Alps, Italy)
pp. 55-78


At La Valute, representing the western flank of the Mt. Zermula massif, one of the most interesting and unexplored sequences on the Italian side of the Carnic Alps is exposed. It is represented by rocks of Ordovician to Carboniferous age, characterized by the widespread mainly pelitic deposits of Silurian age. The Ordovician units are represented by siltstones and shales of the Valbertad Fm., and by the limestones of the Uqua Fm. The Silurian strata consist of the black shales with intercalated limestones of the Nölbling Fm., followed by the cephalopod limestones of the Alticola Fm. Several units follow each other in the Devonian: limestones and shales of the Rauchkofel Fm., light grey limestones of La Valute Fm., reddish nodular limestones of the Findenig Fm., grey limestones at places with intercalated dark shales and cherts of the Hoher Trieb Fm., and the limestones of the Pal Grande Fm. In addition to these rocks deposited in various open sea facies, shallow water rocks of Middle Devonian age are exposed in the eastern part of the area. Siliciclastic sediments of the Hochwipfel Fm. (Carboniferous) cap the Pre-Variscan sequence in the area. A detailed conodont biostratigraphy is developed from six sections measured in the various lithostratigraphic units, and several additional spot samples. Graptolites help to refine the biostratigraphy of some Silurian intervals.

  • Di Cencio A. (2016)

Contina, a new name for the genus Vacekia Conti & Szabó, 1989 (Mollusca: Gastropoda), preoccupied by Vacekia Buckman, 1904 (Mollusca: Ammonoidea)
pp. 79-80

  • Zoboli D. & Caddeo G.A. (2016)

Articulated skeletons of Prolagus sardus (Mammalia, Lagomorpha) from the Quaternary of Grotta del Campanaccio (Santadi, south-western Sardinia)
pp. 81-83