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On the presence of Late Pleistocene wapiti, Cervus canadensis Erxleben, 1777 (Cervidae, Mammalia) in the Palaeolithic site Climăuți II (Moldova)

In: Contributions to Zoology
Authors:
Roman Croitor Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, UMR 7269, MMSH BP674 Rue Château de l’Horloge F-13094 Aix-en-Provence France
Institute of Zoology, Academy of Sciences of Moldova Academiei str. 1 MD-2028 Chisinau Republic of Moldova
E-mail: romancroitor@europe.com

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Theodor Obada Institute of Zoology, Academy of Sciences of Moldova Academiei str. 1 MD-2028 Chisinau Republic of Moldova

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This article reports antler remains from the Late Paleolithic site of Climăuți II (Republic of Moldova) confirming the presence of wapiti Cervus canadensis in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia. The occurrence of wapiti in the East Carpathian area by 20 ky BP coincides with the local extinction of Megaloceros giganteus, Crocuta spelaea, and Ursus spelaeus, and substitution of local forest reindeer with grazing tundra-steppe Rangifer tarandus constantini. We here provide an overview of paleontological data and opinions on the presence of Cervus canadensis in Europe, a discussion on the taxonomic status and systematic position of the extinct deer Cervus elaphus palmidactyloceros, and propose a dispersal model for wapiti in Europe during the Late Pleistocene.

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