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Pubblicatosotto gli auspici
del ConsiglioNazionaledelle Ricerche
Volume42rr. 1-212003
\ -
Bolhnino delk Societd Paleontohgica ltaliana
42 (r-2),2003rssN0375-7633 59-63
I pl.
Modena, Giugn o 2003
New records of Metaxytherium (M"mmalia: Sirenia
from the late Miocene of Cisterna quarry (Apolia, r
Giovanni BnNUCCI
Walter LnNotNI
Museo dell'Ambiente
Universit) di Lecce
di Scienzedella Terra
Universitl di Pisa
Geographicaland stratigraphicaldi.
KEYIVORDS - Sirenia, Meta-xytherium,Systematics,
ABSTRACT - New recordsofMeaxyrherium (Mammalia: Sirenia)fo* Tortonian (kt,
(southernho| are desribed. Thrt are tuo fogortntary
-puFl;shed specimensconsistiig of a skull roof wit
ind unpublishedrecolds-,Metaxyrhiriun
On the basisof this datum ind other
geographicaldisniilution in the Meditenaiton during the Miocene. In particukn ttiitt frequer
th;kie Miocenefor the speciesM. medium, the on[lrecorded in the lvleditenanean1uVingtht
RASSUNTO - [Nuovi ritrovamentidi Metaxytherium(Mammalia: Sirenia)del Mioce
dcscrini nuoui ritrouamenti di Metarytherium (Mammalia: Sirenia) prouenienti dai
Cisterna,Puglia (halia meridionale).Questodnto, insiemead altri pubb[icati e impubblicati, ct
frequentee in un'ampia distibuzione Stogroficadurante il Miocene nel Mediterianeo.In parti
k specieM. medium, l'unica cheVisilti presente,nel MediterrAneo,in questointeruillo a
The Cisterna quarry at Cavallino near Lecce
(Apulia, southern Italy) has yielded an exceptional
assemblageof Late Miocene fossil marine vertebrates
leccese" formation. In the decade of
in the
1980- 1990, when the quarry was active, severalfossils
belongirg to cetaceans (both Mysticeti and
Odoniociti), sirenians, fishes and turtlei were collected. All materials are kept at the Museo dell'Ambiente
of Lecce Universiry (MA). Part of this material comprises
^th. cetaceansand fishes which have already been
subject of various publications (Varola et al.', 1989;
Bianucci et al,, 1992, 1994; Carnevale et al., 2002),
although many other specimens still await examination. fh. purpose of th. present study is to describe
the sirenian specimens collected in this quarry.
Linnaeus, 1758
Class Mevuern
Order SInENn Illiger, 181 1
Family DUcoNGIDAE Gray, l82l
Subfamily HnUTHERIINAE(Carus, 1868) Abel , l9l3
Genus MrraxrrHERIUv de Christol, 1840
| 822)
Refenedspecimen Skull roof (MA 96911) and
right iiU (trm 97011),probablybelongirgto the same
animal;isolatedincompleteright rib (MA 97 | lA).
Cisterna quarry near the village of
Cavallino (Province of Lecce, southern Italy) (Textfig. l).
Agt and stratigraphic occurrence- Late Miocene,
Zone of Iacearly Tortonian: Globorotalia acostAensis
carino and Salvatorini (1982).
Skull - Parietals,incomplete supraoccipital and a
portion of frontals are preservedin the skull roof MA
9691| . On the whole the skull fragment shows a
nearly rectangular cranial vault with- an almost flat
roof and low temporal crests (ryp.
of Domning,
1988). The minimum distanceberweenthe temporal
crestsis about 40 mm. The anteroposteriorlength of
the parietal is I02 mm. Nuchal crest, external occipital protuberance, and median ridge are evident.
Marked rugose sutural surfaces for the squamosals
(lost in the specimen) show that these bones extended posterodorsally to the posterolateralcorner of the
roof, A feeble median concaviry is observed dorsally
at the level o[ the parietal-frontal suture. The interfrontal suture is interdigitated. The endocranial surface is medially dividedby a strong bony falx cerebri.
Ribs - The right rib MA 97011, associatedwith
the skull MA 96911, is relatively slender and probably it has been reduced in thichness by erosion. It
exhibits a uniform curvature along its entire length.
The proximal portion is poorly preservedand does
of Taranto
not show distinct tuberculum and capitulum. The
distal end is flat. Its total length (straight line) is 285
mm and its mid-shaft diameters are27 .5 x 13.3 mm.
The isolated right rib MA 97lll lacks its proximal
portion. It is robust, consists almost completely _of
-ompact bone and exhibits a feeble curvature and a flat
distal portion. The total length of the fragment is 255
mm and its greatestdiameters are42.0 x 28.7 mm.
The skull roof and the two ribs
exhibit morphology that is in the range of variabiliry
of Metaxytherium spp. (Domning & Thomas, 1987;
Domni.g, 1988; Domning & Pervesler,2001). They
are referred rc Metaxytherium medium since this is the
only known sirenian speciesin the Late Miocene of
the Mediterranean and easternNorth Atlantic.
A detailed analysisof the origin and distribution
of Metaxytherium was made by Domning & Thomas
(1987) and Domni.g 6( Pervesler(2001). In these
works the authors speculated that the oldest securely
dated Metaxytherium remains, apart from one unpublished Late Oligocene occurrence in the USA, are
those referred to M. krahuletzi from the Burdigalian
sediments of Austria and Switzerland. Records that
may be closely related to M. krahuletzi are also known
from the Burdigalian of Slovakia, France and Libya
(Domning & Pervesler,2001). In this early Miocene
20 km
Text-fig. 1-
G^eoglaphic location
ot Lrsterna quarry,
where the sirenian
specimens reported
here were colleited.
interval, Metaxytherium specimens are relatively common in the Mediterranean area,while apparently in
the Langhian-Serravallian (middle Miocene) sediments they are relatively scarce (T"b. 1). They were
recorded only from the late Burdigalian-Langhian
sediments of Catalonia (Spain) (Pilleri et Al., 1989)
with the speciesMetaxytherium catalaunicum (considered as probably synonymous with M. medium by
Domnirg 6c Pervesler,2001), and from the latest
Langhian-early Serravallian sediments of Sardinia
(Italy) with Metaxytherium sp. (Capellini, 1886;
Carboni & Kotsakis, 1983). Neverthelesssome fragmentary Metaxytherium specimenswere also collected
from Late Burdigalian-Langhian levels of the Pietra
leccese ( observ.). This material, still partially
enclosed in stone slabs, is kept in the Museo
dell'Ambiente of Lecce Universiry.
The most numerous recorded remains of Italian
Miocene Metaxytherium are from Tortonian (late
Miocene) sediments. Metaxytherium remains have
been collected from Calabria, Sardinia and Apulia
regions (Capellini, 1878; Neviani, 1886; Del Campana, 1924; Comaschi Caria, 1957; MoncharmontZei
& Moncharmont, 1986; Borgia et Al., 1981; Pilleri &
Cigala Fulgosi, 1989; Carone, 1997). From Calabria
there are also three unpublished records consisting of
two skulls and one posicranial skeleton (Carone, pers.
comm.). New specimens of M. medium are also
recorded from Tortonian sediments of Tuscany (pers.
Figs. l-3 - Skull roof (MA 96911)of Metaxytheriummediumfrom Cisternaquarry.
I ) Dorsal view. 2) Ventral view. l) Right lateral view.
Scalebar = 10 cm.
Text-fig.2 - Sg!, ribs of Metaxytherturn med.tumffom
Cisterna quarry in anterior andlateril views.
A - N,IA 97lll in anteriorview; B = the
or view; D = the same
in lateral view. Scale
bar = l0 cm.
The aboveanalysisof publishedand unpublished
data suggeststhat Metaxytheriumwas relatively common and had a wide geographicaldistribution in the
Mediterraneanduring the Miocene. In particular in
the late Miocene the statement above applies to
Mtt*Itherium rnedium, the only speciesknown for
this time interval. This specieshad a very wide geographical distribudon considering that is was also
M uaxy t heri um k rahulzni
and lutnrytherium sp.
Domning 6c Pervesler,2001
Slovakia, Libya, France
Domning & Pervesler,2001
M uaxyt heri um cum"
Pilleri et al., 1989
Metaxytherium sp.
Apulia (Italy)
Unpublished data
Latest Langhian-early Serravallian
Sardinia (Italy)
Capellini, 1886;
Caiboni 6c Kotsakis, 1983
Metarytherium medium
and futetaxytheriumsp.
Cdabria (Italy)
Carone, 1999; Moncharmont Zei
6c Moncharmont, 1986; Neviani,
1886; Del Campana, 1924
Tuscany (Italy)
Unpublished data
Apulia (Italy)
Capellini, 1878; Borgiaet al., l98l;
tnls PaPer.
Sardinia (Italy)
Comaschi Caria, 1957
Emilia Romagna (Italy)
Pilleri 6c Cigda Fulgosi, 1989
Late Burdigalian-Langhian
erium hrahuhai?
Tab. I - Ag., systematicsand bibliographical referencesof Metaxytherium records from the
found in the Serravallian-Tortonian
and of the Netherlands (Domnitg
of northern France
& Tholnrs, 1987).
thank D.P. Domning (Laboratory of Paleobiology,
Department of Anatomy, Howird Universiry \Tashington, DC)
for very usefulsuggestions.
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(manuscriptreceiuedDecember9, 2002
acciptedFebruary 6, 2003)
Giovanni BnNuccl
\Talter LnNotNI
di ScienzedellaTerra
Universithdi Pisa
Via S. Maria 53,56126 Pisa,Italy
e-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]
Angelo Vnnom
Museo dell'Ambiente
Universit) di Lecce
Via per Arnesano,73l00 Lecce,Italy
[email protected]
e-mail: museo.