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First fossil record of leopard-like felid (Panthera cf. pardus) from alluvial deposits of the Po River in northern Italy

Sabol, Martin, Persico, Davide, Troco, Emiliano
Quaternary international 2017 v.436 pp. 192-200
Alces alces, Canis lupus, Cervus elaphus, Crocuta crocuta, Elephas, Panthera, Ursus arctos, Vulpes vulpes, alluvium, bison, carnivores, cats, fauna, fossils, herbivores, mixing, rivers, species diversity, tibia, Italy
A slender right felid tibia has been found in river deposits of the Po River in the territory of Cremona (Northern Italy). The fossil, found in allochthonous position within an alluvial bar, shows an overall slenderness and subtlety, different shape of the shaft from lateral view, or less pronounced medial malleolus, corresponding in morphology and dimensions rather with tibiae of modern leopards than with shinbones of larger pantherines or feline cats. The bone is, however, faintly rounded (surface erosion of the edges in particular on the head of the tibia), indicating a limited transport (rafting). Based on that, it is determined as Panthera cf. pardus only. The whole mammalian fossil record from the site consists predominantly of large herbivores (Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus, “Dihoplus” (Stephanorhinus) kirchbergensis, Bison priscus, Megaloceros giganteus, Mammuthus primigenius, Alces alces, Cervus elaphus), whereas carnivores (Ursus arctos, Crocuta crocuta ssp., Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes) are very rare and composed only by a few specimens. The species composition indicates probably a mixing of different faunal assemblages from warm (interglacial) and cold (glacial) periods of the Late Pleistocene.