Precipitation and large herbivorous mammals, part II: Application to fossil data
J.T. Eronen, Kai Puolamäki, L. Liu, K. Lintulaakso, J. Damut, C. Janis and M. Fortelius
Evolutionary Ecology Research
Background: We developed a method to estimate precipitation using mammalian ecomorphology, specifically the relative height of the molars of herbivores (see companion
paper, this issue).
Question: If we apply the new method to paleoenvironments, do the results agree with previous results from fossil mammals and paleobotanical proxies?
Data: Large herbivorous fossil mammals of Eurasia. Data from NOW database covers 23–22 Ma and is Eurasia-wide.
Method: We apply the new precipitation estimation method (based on present-day mammalian ecomorphology) to fossil assemblages from different localities.
Conclusions: The early Miocene retained the overall humid conditions of the late Paleogene. A shift to more arid conditions began during the middle Miocene. The late Miocene as a whole was a time of large changes, and there was continent-wide restructuring of the distribution of
environments. Our new results agree with previous investigations and the mammal proxy data
are in good agreement with palaeovegetation data. Mammals and vegetation produce similar precipitation values and large-scale patterns