Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The beaver Steneofiber depereti from the lower Upper Miocene hominid locality Hammerschmiede and remarks on its ecology

Thomas Lechner and Madelaine Böhme

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 67 (4), 2022: 807-826 doi:

Dental remains of a medium sized beaver from the early Late Miocene Hammerschmiede locality (MN 7/8) in the Northern Alpine Foreland Basin (Southern Germany, Bavaria) are described and assigned to Steneofiber depereti. The numerous material (160 teeth) was collected in the two fossiliferous layers HAM 5 and HAM 4 and comprises beaver individuals of a large range of age classes, from juvenile to old. The dental remains metrically and morphologically overlap the stratigraphic older Steneofiber spp. and the younger Chalicomys spp. This supports the hypothesis of the European anagenetic evolutionary lineage Steneofiber depereti–Chalicomys jaegeri. The morphological characters to differentiate Steneofiber depereti and Chalicomys jaegeri are discussed and redefined. The performed age-frequency distribution (Mortality profile) indicates a natural ecological mortality and confirms that at least the fluvial channel of the HAM 4 deposits was the actual optimal beaver habitat and continuously populated by larger family groups of beavers. Furthermore, there are indications that the Hammerschmiede beaver had a similar parental investment as today’s beavers, where young adults migrate to poorer habitats in the second year, in search of their own territory. The shallower channel of HAM 5 possibly represents such a “second choice” habitat.

Key words: Mammalia, Rodentia, Castoridae, Steneofiber depereti , ecology, mortality, Miocene, Germany, Bavaria.

Thomas Lechner [] and Madelaine Böhme [], Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment (HEP), Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Institute for Geoscience, Sigwartstraße 10, 72074 Tübingen, Germany.

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