Size shifts in late Middle Pleistocene to Early Holocene Sus scrofa (Suidae, Mammalia) from Apulia (southern Italy): ecomorphological adaptations?
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Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Sapienza Università di Roma, PaleoFactory, p.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185, Roma, Italy
Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana, via U. Aldrovandi 18, I-00197 Roma, Italy
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra, Área de Paleontología, Universidad de Zaragoza, Pedro Cerbuna 12, S-50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Online publication date: 2020-02-21
Publication date: 2020-02-21
Corresponding author
Alessio Iannucci   

Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Sapienza Università di Roma, PaleoFactory, p.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185, Roma, Italy
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2020;31(1):10–20
The extant wild boar Sus scrofa has one of the largest geographical range of all mammals, and from its appearance in the late Early Pleistocene (Epivillafranchian) it is also widely represented in the European fossil record. Early forms of the species were larger than Late Pleistocene ones, but neither the chronology nor the causes of the size reduction have been thoroughly investigated. Here, we considered for the first time a large number of fossils from several late Middle Pleistocene to Early Holocene sites of the Apulian region (Italian Peninsula). In contrast to the supposed existence of a progressive trend towards small dimensions, morphometric comparisons and body mass estimates allow us to recognize several size oscillations during the late Middle Pleistocene-Early Holocene, with large forms occurring during interglacial stages and smaller ones during glacial stages. This suggests that fossil Apulian wild boar did not conform to Bergmann’s rule, that predicts larger size in colder climates due to the selective pressure towards lower surface area to volume ratio. Climate recrudescence may have played an indirect role in reducing the availability of trophic resources and hence promoting the observed pattern.
The authors are thankful for granting access to the material, the kindness and availability of: Donato Coppola (MPCCSM); Maria Carmela Del Re (MPUN); Luciano Bruni and Stefano Grimaldi (IsIPU); Linda Riti and Michele Lustrino (MUST); Riccardo Castiglia (MACUS); Rosanna Laragione (SMCC); Elisabetta Cioppi and Luca Bellucci (IGF); Francesca Alhaique (MUCIV); Addolorata Mazzotta and Carlo Viva (ITCGC); Marco Pavia (MGP). We wish to thank J. Conti, D.A. Iurino, and A. Profico for their useful suggestions and help. We thank also H. Baills and P. Magniez for their support and suggestions. We are grateful for the insightful review of the associate editor P. Raia, M. Cherin, and an anonymous reviewer. This research was funded by Sapienza University of Rome “Grandi Scavi” 2016–2017–2018–2019 grants (principal investigator RS).