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Early evidence for the Algerian hedgehog in Europe


Juan Rofes, Área de Paleontología, Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.


This paper reports the earliest documented record of the Algerian hedgehog Atelerix algirus in Europe. Only a first lower molar of the 13 specimens found inside a Bronze Age grave at the site of Biniai Nou in Minorca (Balearic islands, Spain) provided unequivocal traits for this species. Of the two AMS radiocarbon dates taken on the hedgehog bones, the oldest one dated the sample to the 13th century, indicating a contamination of the deposits and a rather recent arrival of the species on the island. Geographical, cultural and zoological data provide circumstantial evidence pointing to the Almohad invaders as the responsible agents for the introduction of A. algirus into Minorca, probably as part of a larger-scale animal translocation phenomenon whose details are being worked out at this moment.

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