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Title: An examination of feeding ecology in Pleistocene proboscideans from southern China (Sinomastodon, Stegodon, Elephas), by means of dental microwear texture analysis
Authors: Zhang, Hanwen
Wang, Yuan
Janis, Christine M.
Goodall, Robert H.
Purnell, Mark A.
First Published: 26-Jul-2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary International, 2016, in press
Abstract: It has long been thought that environmental perturbations were the key driving force behind the succession of three distinct mammal faunas in the Pleistocene Ailuropoda-Stegodon faunal complex (sensu lato) of South China: the lower Pleistocene Gigantopithecus-Sinomastodon fauna, the middle Pleistocene Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna (sensu stricto) and the upper Pleistocene Homo-Elephas fauna. Here, we apply three-dimensional dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) to three characteristic fossil proboscideans from these mammal faunas to provide preliminary tests for hypotheses of trophic ecology. Despite a few methodological caveats, this study demonstrates the potential of DMTA for understanding the diets of fossil proboscideans. The texture of microwear in Sinomastodon and Stegodon are more reflective of browsing, whereas that of Elephas is suggestive of mixed feeding. The results suggest a more complex process of Pleistocene faunal turnovers in South China. Rather than a unidirectional trend of climate-driven environmental deterioration, biotic factors might have played a more substantial role than previously thought.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.quaint.2016.07.011
ISSN: 1040-6182
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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