New palaeoecological approaches to interpret climatic fluctuations in Holocenic sites of the Pampean Region of Argentina

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The apparently regular and favourable climate that characterizes the Holocene as an interglacial period shows, however, important climatic instability well documented in the Northern Hemisphere. These fluctuations from colder to warmer or wetter to drier affected both biodiversity and human societies in the last 12,000 years, although the impact in Southern America is still poorly known. We are here investigating the biodiversity of small mammal faunas, more sensitive to climatic changes than large mammals, combining taphonomic and palaeoecological data in the Argentine Pampas to better understand the global nature and effect of these Holocene climatic fluctuations. This paper is pioneering applying in this region palaeoecological methodologies practised in European sites, such as the chorotype classification and biomes overlap analyses. The Pampean Region is an ecotone with a confluence of three climatic regions where any change in climatic conditions should be easily detected. Our results, based on the palaeoecological requirements of small mammals, do not indicate severe changes, and most of the sites show climatic stability except for one of them, in which a possible trend towards present conditions (temperate/humid) can be inferred.