Late Neogene Rhinocerotidae of Greece: distribution, diversity and stratigraphical range
Deinsea , Volume 10 - Issue 1 p. 235- 254
The present contribution provides a comprehensive overview of the Neogene rhinoceroses of Greece and evaluates their affinities with the European and Asian species. The distribution, diversity and dispersal of the family in the Eastern Mediterranean are discussed in detail. Knowledge of rhinos during the Middle Miocene in Greece is still very limited, because of the scarce material. During the Late Miocene the family was diverse and abundant in Greece. The dominant form, Ceratotherium neumayri, was probably an African immigrant that invaded Southeastern Europe, Anatolia and the Middle East during the Late Miocene. This rather subhypsodont tandem-horned rhino has already achieved most of the apomorphic characters of the living Dicerotina. The contemporary species Dihoplus pikermiensis is also common, but the origin and evolutionary relationships among its Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene relatives are still controversial. The Greek Late Miocene representatives of the subfamily Aceratheriinae are obviously closer related to the Asian genera Chilotherium and Acerorhinus, than to the typical aceratheres Aceratherium, Alicornops and Hoploaceratherium found in Central and Western Europe at the same time. Chilotherium and Acerorhinus migrated into Greece from Central Asia trough Anatolia at the beginning of the Vallesian. Chilotherium dominated Samos, where it was represented by at least three species: Ch. samium, Ch. kowalevskii and Ch. schlosseri. In continental Greece, the richest acerathere material comes from the recently discovered locality of Pentalophos-1, where the species Aceratherium kiliasi has been described. Later, this material was assigned partly to Chilotherium and partly to Acerorhinus. The Late Miocene rhino assemblages of Greece are in conformity with the ones from Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, especially with the ones from Anatolia. By the end of the Turolian, all these species became extinct in Greece, unable to survive the paleoenvironmental changes and the faunal turnover at the Miocene-Pliocene boundary. Pliocene rhinoceroses are poorly documented in Greece. Stephanorhinus cf. etruscus has been reported with more or less certainty from several localities, but the available material is not sufficient for useful comparisons.