A late Early Pleistocene pollen record from Fontana Ranuccio (central Italy)



A pollen record from a sediment core drilled underneath the Acheulian site of Fontana Ranuccio provides new data on the vegetation characters in central Italy during the late Early Pleistocene, in a forest phase possibly corresponding to a substage of Marine Isotope Stage 21. A number of tree taxa nowadays extinct in Europe (Cathaya, Tsuga, Taxodium type, Carya and Pterocarya) are present at Fontana Ranuccio in a temperate phase characterised by dense forest conditions, dominated by Alnus and Pterocarya. The comparison of the Fontana Ranuccio record with other dated sites distributed along the Italian peninsula indicates that the floristic and vegetational characters of the Mid Pleistocene revolution present a rather distinct succession of biostratigraphic events. Compared to other Early Pleistocene pollen records from southern Europe, the Italian Peninsula shows greater floristic similarities with the Eastern Mediterranean regions than with the Iberian Peninsula. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.