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Mammal fauna during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene in the far northeast of Europe

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Abstract

The paper summarises materials on the mammal remains in northeastern Europe, dated by radiocarbon. Altogether, 23 local faunas of small mammals and 47 local faunas of large mammals were analysed. Multidimensional statistical analysis shows a strong correlation between changes in small mammal fauna composition and climate changes throughout time. The correlations with the spatial gradients, however, are less pronounced. The faunas are classified into three groups: (1) faunas of Holocene age; (2) Late Pleistocene ‘stadial’ assemblages; and (3) Late Pleistocene ‘interstadial’ assemblages. In some cases, changes in species abundance are better understood in terms of biotic interrelations rather than of climatic effects. The most pronounced change in small mammal fauna composition and structure occurred at the Preboreal/Boreal boundary, and a less conspicuous alteration took place at the LGM/Lateglacial transition. The most noticeable transformation in the large mammal fauna composition is dated to the early Holocene. Less significant changes are observed at the Middle Weichselian/LGM transition and at the LGM/Lateglacial transition. It is safely concluded that variations in the faunas of small and large mammals recorded in NE Europe during the last 35 000 years occurred synchronously and unidirectionally.

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