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Moncucco Torinese, a new post-evaporitic Messinian fossiliferous site from Piedmont (NW Italy)

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Abstract:

The Moncucco Torinese site (Piedmont, NW Italy) bears very diverse and abundant fossil assemblages with ostracods, brackish to freshwater and terrestrial molluscs, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The Moncucco section records the shift from shallow brackish waters ("Lago-Mare" facies) to freshwater/emerged environments. The analysis of the fossil assemblages evidences the presence of elements with different taphonomical histories. However, their age difference is minimal as the taphonomically reworked brackish water molluscs of the upper layers of the section come from the "Lago-Mare" sediments of the basal layer. According to stratigraphical and palaeontological context the age of the Moncucco fossil assemblages is post-evaporitic Messinian. Moncucco is one of the rare Italian non-marine fossil assemblages of this age comprising vertebrate and invertebrate taxa. The small mammals from Moncucco indicate that in this period NW Italy was a cross-road for immigration in the Italian peninsula, as testified by the presence of taxa of different origin (eastern Europe: Prolagus sorbinii and Hansdebruijnia sp.; western Europe: if the presence of genus Huerzelerimys will be confirmed) together with species known only from the Italian peninsula as Centralomys cf. C. benericettii.
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