Guefaït-1 (eastern Morocco), a new stage in the evolution of the late Miocene (Vallesian) small mammalian faunas of Northern Africa

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The continental Late Miocene is relatively well represented in North Africa, but stratigraphic gaps are present in the Vallesian due to the scarcity of localities from this time. In this paper, we present the small mammal association from the section of Guefaït 1, in the Aïn Beni Mathar Basin (Jerada, eastern Morocco). This sequence contains three successive fossiliferous levels: Guefaït 1A, Guefaït 1B and Guefaït 1C. The small mammal association of the richest level, Guefaït 1A, includes insectivores (Schizogalerix sp., Lartetium cf. africanum), bats (cf. Hypsugo sp.) and rodents of the families Gerbillidae (Zramys salemi, Myocricetodon seboui, Myocricetodon aff. trerki, Myocricetodon sp.), Muridae (Progonomys cathalai), Gliridae (Microdyromys cf. chaabi) and Sciuridae (Atlantoxerus sp.). Large mammals are scarcely represented by Gazella sp. and Hipparion sp. The rodent association, characterised by the occurrence of Progonomys cathalai and Zramys salemi, indicates an early Late Miocene, latest Vallesian age for the sites of Guefaït 1. The novel small mammal combination from this site constitutes a significant finding that improves our understanding of evolution of terrestrial Late Miocene faunas from northern Africa.
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