Early Quaternary history of the genus Archidiskodon (Proboscidea, Elephantidae) in Western Siberia: to the question of intermediate links in mammoth lineage

I.V. Foronova

Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS, 2018, 322(3): 241–258  ·  https://doi.org/10.31610/trudyzin/2018.322.3.241

Full text  


The paper is concerned with the early representatives of the Archidiskodon–Mammuthus lineage from the sediments of Lower Pleistocene of the South of Western Siberia (Kuznetsk Basin). Several forms were being described within the genus Archidiskodon (A. meridionalis, A. m. tamanensis, A. m. voigtstedtensis, A. aff. wusti) which represent consecutive steps of progressive development of the lineage on the early stage of its evolution. Morphometric features of molars (M3) have been studied using the author’s original method designed for this group, which allowed specifying systematic attribution of the taxa under study and their position in the structure of the mammoth lineage. It was demonstrated that the form previously distinguished as Wust’s elephant and later attributed to the species M. trogontherii significantly differs from the latter in frequency and length of the plates. This form also stands out well statistically and is regarded as a separate and the latest taxon among the Archidiskodon group of elephants. A. wusti occupies a distinct position of an intermediate form (a ‘bridge’ as H. Pohlig put it) between the genera Archidiskodon and Mammuthus in the structure of the mammoth lineage. Thus, the multi-dimensional diagrams used in our method permit to take a step close to revealing of so-called intermediate links in the mammoth lineage. Direction of phyletic development and some adaptations of the group in the second half of Early Pleistocene are also discussed. Account is also given to the accompanying fauna and the existence period of these species on the territory under study.

Key words

Archidiskodon, biostratigraphy, Early Pleistocene, Kuznetsk Basin, lineage, molars, Western Siberia

Submitted July 5, 2018  ·  Accepted September 2, 2018  ·  Published September 26, 2018


Alekseeva L.I. 1977. Theriofauna of the Early Antropogene of Eastern Europe. Nauka, Moscow, 214 p. [In Russian].

Alexeeva L.I. and Garutt V.E. 1965. New data on the evolution of the elephant genus Archidiskodon. Byulleten’ Komissii po Izucheniyv Chetvertichnogo Perioda, 30: 161–166. [In Russian].

Azzaroli A. 1977. Evolutionary patterns of Villafranchian Elephants in central Italy. Atti della Academia nazionale dei Lincei Anno 374. Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali,, 13(14): 149–168.

Baygusheva V.S. 2000. New data on Taman Faunistic Complex from the excavation site near village Semibalki (Azov region). In: Kiyashko V.Ya. (Ed.). Historical and Archeological Researches in Azov and at Lower Don in 1998. Vol. 16. Azov: 27–57. [In Russian].

Baygusheva V.S. and Garutt V.E. 1987. The skeleton of the steppe elephant Archidiskodon trogontherii (Pohlig 1885) from the northeastern Azov region. Proceedings of the Zoological Institute, 168: 3–20. [In Russian].

Baygusheva V.S. and Titov V.V. 2008. The Taman faunal complex of large vertebrates of the Azov and Lower Don regions. International conference on Early Paleolithic of Eurasia: new discoveries. SSC Russian Academy of Sciences, Rostov-on-Don: 123–124.

Baygusheva V. and Titov V. 2010. The evolution of eastern European meridionaloid elephants. Quaternaire (Hors serie), 3: 13–16.

Baygusheva V. and Titov V. 2012. The evolution of Eastern European meridionaloid elephants’ dental characteristics. Quaternary International, 255: 206–216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2011.07.045

Belyaeva E.I. 1925. Elephas trogontherii Pohl. from Taman Peninsula. Trudy Geologicheskogo i Mineralogicheskogo Muzeja AN SSSR, 5(1): 1–15. [In Russian].

Darlington F. 1966. Zoogeography. Geographical Distribution of Animals. Progress, Moscow, 518 p. [In Russian].

Dietrich W.O. 1958. Übergangsformen des Südelephanten (Elephas meridionalis Nesti) im Altpleistozän von Thüringen. Geologie, 7: 79–82.

Dubrovo I.A. 1963a. New data on the Tamanian faunal complex of vertebrates. Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists. Geological Series, 38(6): 94–99. [In Russian].

Dubrovo I.A. 1963b. On systematic position of Elephas w üsti. Paleontologicheskiy Zhurnal, 4: 95–102. [In Russian].

Dubrovo I.A. 1964. Elephants of genus Archidiskodon on the territory of USSR. Paleontologicheskiy Zhurnal, 3: 82–94. [In Russian].

Dubrovo I.A. 1966. Systematic position of an elephant from the Khozar faunal assemblage. Byulleten’ Komissii po Izucheniyv Chetvertichnogo Perioda, 32: 63–74. [In Russian].

Foronova I.V. 1982. New mammal finds in the Pleistocene sediments of the Kuznetsk Basin. Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta AN SSSR, 111: 50–57. [In Russian].

Foronova I.V. 1990. Quaternary mammals of the Kuznetsk Basin and their stratigraphical significance. Abstract of the Candidate of Geologo-Mineralogical Sciences thesis. Novosibirsk, 24 p. [In Russian].

Foronova I.V. 1999. Quaternary mammals and strati­graphy of the Kuznetsk Basin (Southwestern Siberia). Antropozoikum “Quaternary of Siberia”, 23: 71–98.

Foronova I.V. 2001a. History of Quaternary Proboscideans of the south of Western Siberia inferred from dental system analysis. In: G. Cavarretta, P. Gioia, M. Mussi and M.R. Palombo (Eds). The World of Elephants. Proceedings of the First International Congress, Roma. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma: 109–114.

Foronova I.V. 2001b. Quaternary mammals of the south-east of Western Siberia (Kuznetsk Basin): phylogeny, biostratigraphy, and palaeoecology. Publishing House of Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, GEO, Novosibirsk, 243 p. [In Russian, with English summary].

Foronova I.V. 2007. Thin-enamel dental specialization in mammoth evolution: an example of direction selection. Quaternary International, 169–170: 95–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2006.11.001

Foronova I.V. 2014a. Mammoths of the Molodova V Paleolithic site (Dniester Basin): The case of dental thin-enamel specialization and paleoecological adaptation. Quaternary International, 326–327: 235–242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.11.034

Foronova I.V. 2014b. Mammuthus intermedius (Proboscidea, Elephantidae) from the late Middle Pleistocene of the Southern Western and Central Siberia, Russia: problem of intermediate elements in the mammoth lineage. Russian Journal of Theriology, 13(2): 141–153. https://doi.org/0.15298/rusjtheriol.13.2.0

Foronova I.V. and Zudin A.N. 1986. A new approach to the study of north Eurasian fossil elephants of the Archidiskodon–Mammuthus lineage. In: S.A. Arkhipov (Ed.). Biostratigraphy and Paleoclimates of the Pleistocene in Siberia. Nauka, Novosibirsk: 6–31. [In Russian].

Foronova I.V. and Zudin A.N. 1999. The structure of the lineage Archidiskodon–Mammuthus in Eurasia and peculiarities of its evolution. Deinsea, 9: 103–118.

Foronova I.V. and Zudin A.N. 2001. Discreteness of evolution and variability in mammoth lineage: method for group study. In: G. Cavarretta, P. Gioia, M. Mussi and M.R. Palombo (Eds). The World of Elephants. Proceedings of the First International Congress, Roma. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma: 540–543.

Garutt V.E. 1954. Southern elephant Archidiskodon meridionalis (Nesti) from the Pliocene of the Northern Coast of Azov Sea. Trudy Po Izucheniyu Chetvertichnogo Perioda, 10(2): 1–76. [In Russian].

Garutt V.E. 1971. History of distinguishing of intermediate elements in the lineage Archidiskodon – Mammuthus. In: V.A. Zubakov and V.V. Kocheruga (Eds). Chronology of the Glacial Age. Geographicheskoye obshchestvo SSSR, Leningrad: 78–88. [In Russian].

Garutt V.E. and Alexeeva L.I. 1964. New data on evolution of elephants of genus Archidiskodon. Abstracts of All-Union Meeting for Researching of Quaternary. Novosibirsk: 7–8. [In Russian].

Garutt V.E. and Bajgusheva V.S. 1981. Archidiskodon gromovi Garutt et Alexeeva – der älteste Elefant der Mammutlinie in Eurasien. Quart ärpaläontologie, 4: 7–18.

Garutt V.E. and Foronova I.V. 1976. Research on the teeth of extant elephants: methodological recommendations. Institute for Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk, 36 p. [In Russian].

Lister A.M. and Sher A.V. 2001. The origin and evolution of the wooly mammoth. Science, 294: 1094–1097. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1056370

Lister A.M., Sher A.V., Van Essen H. and Wei G. 2005. The pattern and process of mammoth evolution in Eurasia. Quaternary International, 126–128: 49–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2004.04.014

Lister A.M. and Stuart A.J. 2010. The West Runton mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) and its evolutionary significance. Quaternary International, 228: 180–209. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2010.07.032

Maglio V.J. 1973. Origin and evolution of the Elephantidae. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 63(3): 1–149. https://doi.org/10.2307/1006229

Mayet L., Roman F. and Depéret C. 1923. Les éléphants pliocènes. Annales de l’Universit é de Lyon, 43: 162.

Miller R. and Kan J. 1965. Statistical analysis in geology. Publishing House MIR, Moscow, 81 p. [In Russian].

Nesti F. 1825. Sulla nuova specie di elefante fossile del Valdarno. Nuovo Giornale Dei Letterati, 2(24): 195–216.

Nikolskiy P.A., Titov V.V., Tesakov A.S., Foronova I.V. and Baygusheva V.S. 2014. Early Biharian Archidiskodon meridionalis (Nesti, 1825) from Sarkel (Lower Don area, Southern European Russia) and associated small mammals. VI International conference on mammoths and their relatives. Abstract book. Thessaloniki: 142.

Osborn H.F. 1942. Proboscidea. Vol. 2. American Museum Natural history Press, New York: 805–1676.

Pavlow M. 1910. Les elephants fossiles de la Russie. Nouveaux m émoires de la Société Imperiale Naturelle de Moscou, 17(2): 1–56.

Pohlig H. 1885. Ueber eine Hipparionen-Fauna von Mara­gha in Nordpersien. Zeitschrift der Deutschen geologischen Gesellschaft, 37: 1022–1027.

Sher A.V. 1971. Pleistocene mammals and stratigraphy of the Far Northeast of the USSA and North America. Nauka, Moscow, 310 p. [In Russian, with English summary].

Söergel W. 1912. Elephas trogontherii Pohl. und Elephas antiquus Falc., ihre Stammesgeschichte und ihre Bedentung für die Gliederung des deutschen Diluvium. Palaentogra fia, 60: 1–114.

Tesakov A.S. 2004. Biostratigraphy of the Middle Pliocene – Eopleistocene of Eastern Europe (on the basis of small mammals). Nauka, Moscow, 247 p. [In Russian, with English summary].

Vangengeim E.A. and Zazhigin V.S. 1965. Some results of the study of Antropogene mammal fauna of Western Siberia. In: V.N. Saks (Ed.). Main Problems of the Quaternary. Nauka, Moscow: 301–311.

Vangengeim E.A. and Zazhigin V.S. 1972. Mammal fauna of Siberia. International colloquium on the border between Neogene and Quaternary system. Book of reports, 2: 263–277. [In Russian].

Vereshchagin N.K. 1957. Mammal remains from Lower Quaternary deposits of Taman Peninsula. Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta AN SSSR, 22: 9–49. [In Russian].

Vereshchagin N.K. 1959. Mammals of the Caucasus: the history of the fauna. Academy of Sciences of the USSR Institute of Zoology, Moscow, Leningrad, 763 p. [In Russian].

Vislobokova I.A. 1973. Paleontological foundation of Eopleistocene stratigraphy of the south of Western Siberia. Abstract of the Candidate of Geologo-Minera­logical Sciences thesis. Novosibirsk, 24 p. [In Russian].

Vislobokova I.A. 1974. On a new find of Archidiskodon gromovi Garutt et Alekseeva from the Eopleistocene deposits of the south West Siberia). Byulleten’ Komissii po Izucheniyu Chetvertichnogo Perioda. 42: 171–176. [In Russian].

Vislobokova I.A. 1996. The Pliocene Podpusk-Lebyazh’e mammalian faunas and assemblage, Western Siberia. Paleontographia Italica, 83: 1–23.

Wüst E. 1901. Untersuchungen über das, Pliozän und das älteste Pleistozan Thüringens. Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft zu Halle, 23: 17–352.

Yatsko I.Y. 1948. The skeleton of Elephas w üsti M. Pavl. from Terrace Drifts of Khadzhibey Liman near g. Odessa. Trudy Odesskogo Universiteta, 2: 54.

Zudin А.N., Votakh М.R., Galkina L.I. and Lipagina V.Ja. 1977. Stratigraphy of Pliocene – Quaternary beds of Pri-Ob Plateau. Transactions of Institute of Geology and Geophysics AN SSSR, 373: 1–100. [In Russian].

Zudin A.N., Nikolaev S.V., Galkina L.I., Butke­eva O.Yu., Ephimova L.J., Panychev V.A. and Ponomarjova E.A. 1982. Foundation of the stratigraphical scheme of the Neogene and Quaternary deposits in the Kuznetsk Basin. Transactions of Institute of Geology and Geophysics AN SSSR, 521: 133–149. [In Russian].


© Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Last modified: February 5, 2019