The Villafranchian carnivoran guild of Greece: implications for the fauna, biochronology and paleoecology


  • George D. KOUFOS

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
    • Correspondence: George D. Koufos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Geology, Laboratory of Geology and Palaeontology, GR-54124 Thessaloniki, Greece. Email:

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Knowledge on the Villafranchian faunas of Greece was limited for a long time, but over the past 3 decades several new fossiliferous sites have been discovered and new material has been unearthed. The carnivores constitute a remarkable part of this material and their study has provided useful information for the taxonomy, chronology and palaeoecology. The Villafranchian carnivoran guild includes numerous taxa belonging to various families. Some of them are interesting as they are differentiated from the other Eurasian families. They cover the entire Villafranchian but the mass is known from the Middle to the Epi-Villafranchian (EVC). Despite the discontinuous data, they provide useful biochronological results. The coexistence of Pliocrocuta perrieri and Pachycrocuta brevirostris in the locality of Gerakarou 1 is strong evidence for the Middle Villafranchian (MVC)/Late Villafranchian (LVC) boundary. The composition of the Villafranchian carnivores suggests that the canids predominate, while the felids, hyenids and mustelids are well represented; the ursids are represented by a single taxon, the well-known Ursus etruscus, which seems to be common during the entire Villafranchian. The carnivoran guild structure and the multivariate analysis of the Greek Villafranchian carnivoran assemblages (MVC, LVC and EVC) in comparison with modern assembalges from open and closed environments indicate a relatively open landscape, which is in agreement with previous results for the Villafranchian of Greece. During the EVC there is a faunal renewal that is related to a more open and dry environment, like savannah bushland/grassland.