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The ornithological remains from Marathousa 1 (Middle Pleistocene; Megalopolis Basin, Greece)

Michailidis, Dimitrios, Konidaris, George E., Athanassiou, Athanassios, Panagopoulou, Eleni, Harvati, Katerina
Quaternary international 2018 v.497 pp. 85-94
Anas crecca, Cygnus olor, Passeriformes, basins, birds of prey, climatic factors, fauna, habitats, invertebrates, paleoecology, swans, Greece
In the Middle Pleistocene open-air locality Marathousa 1 (Megalopolis Basin, Peloponnese, Greece), lithic artefacts are spatially and stratigraphically associated with faunal remains. Among the latter, birds are known by over 120 skeletal elements and represent an important part of the vertebrate fauna. The majority of them are identified as anseriform birds of various sizes, from swan size (Cygnus olor) to teal size (Anas crecca). The next largest group is gruiform birds, while, at least one small-sized passerine is also present (cf. Cinclus cinclus). A number of taxa are recorded for the first time in the Pleistocene of Greece. The taphonomic analysis of the deposit points to a minimal transfer of the avian skeletal elements, accumulated possibly through the combined action of some raptors and natural transfer of unconsumed avian remains. The palaeoecological analysis reveals a rich lakeshore environment, under temperate climatic conditions, that would support large numbers of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and small vertebrates. The avifaunal composition and its richness demonstrate the importance of the palaeolake system, which would have contributed to the development of habitats capable of supporting a variety of species including hominins.