Late Miocene/Early Pliocene vertebrate fauna from Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean): an update

Integr Zool. 2014 Mar;9(2):183-196. doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12049.


The vertebrate fossil record from the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean) has improved considerably over the past decade, especially in Mallorca and Menorca. In Menorca, the Pliocene terrestrial fauna was updated by the discovery and description of the large-sized leporid Nuralagus, several reptiles and an amphibian. In Mallorca, paleontological exploration yielded 2 deposits with a Late Miocene/Early Pliocene chronology, Caló den Rafelino (CdR) and Na Burguesa-1 (NB-1). So far, 4 new mammalian taxa and 2 new reptiles have been identified for the CdR deposit, whereas the faunal assemblage from the recently discovered deposit (Apr 2012) of NB-1 is currently composed of, at least, 6 terrestrial mammals, 8 reptiles and an amphibian. Its faunal composition and some primitive characteristics of the obtained taxa suggest that the chronology of this deposit is slightly earlier than the CdR. The terrestrial vertebrates recorded in these 2 Mallorcan deposits are changing the view of the paleofaunal assemblage previously known for the Plio-Pleistocene of the island. Morphological characteristics displayed by some of the taxa suggest that these faunas would be at the beginning of an isolated evolution. In this paper we present a preliminary report on the fossils recovered from the NB-1 deposit, as well as some unpublished data from CdR, and we analyze the whole fauna from both Mallorcan deposits, focusing on taxonomical and paleobiogeographical aspects.

Keywords: Early Pliocene; Late Miocene; Mallorca; new fauna; paleobiogeography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Fossils*
  • Mediterranean Islands
  • Paleontology / methods
  • Phylogeny*
  • Phylogeography
  • Species Specificity
  • Vertebrates / anatomy & histology*
  • Vertebrates / classification