Environmental control on the biogeographical distribution of Desmanella (Soricomorpha, Mammalia) in the Miocene of the Iberian Peninsula



Abstract:  This paper reports the first record of Desmanella (Mammalia, Soricomorpha) from the Granada Basin in southern Iberian Peninsula, which represents its south-westernmost occurrence in all Eurasia. It is a controversial taxon whose systematic assignment has been discussed for a long time. This genus belongs to the family Talpidae, a group of insectivores that include extant moles, shrew moles and desmans. Desmanella was very abundant in the late Miocene and early Pliocene of Eurasia, including several basins of northern Iberian Peninsula, but it has not been found until now in southern Iberia. Previous studies have shown that the faunal record and the climatic conditions during the Neogene in the Granada Basin were different from other areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The particular distribution of Desmanella supports the hypothesis that specific climatic features (wetter than neighbouring areas) prevailed in the Granada Basin during the late Turolian (late Miocene).