European Land Mammal Ages

As mentioned earlier, standard ages are more widely used for biochronology of European faunas than are the European Land-Mammal Ages (ELMAs), and are therefore used in this text. This preference for the former may have come about because the ELMAs are for the most part equivalent in time to the standard ages ("Dano-Montian" = Danian; Cernaysian = Selandian and Thanetian; Neustrian = most of the Ypresian; Rhenanian = the rest of the Ypre-sian through the Bartonian; and Headonian = Priabonian; McKenna and Bell, 1997).

For greater resolution than is afforded by the standard ages, faunas are correlated by a series of European reference levels, arranged in sequence by stage of evolution and first and last appearances. In the Paleogene they are numbered from Mammal Paleogene (MP) 1 to MP 30 (Schmidt-Kittler, 1987). Levels MP 1-5 are reserved for lower Paleocene faunas, although only one (Hainin, Belgium) is currently known. MP 6 is used for the late Paleocene site of Cernay France. When late Paleocene mammals become better known in Europe, more levels will surely be necessary MP 7-10 are early Eocene (Ypresian), MP 11-16 are middle Eocene (MP 11-13 correspond to Lutetian, MP 14-16 to Bartonian), and MP 17-20 are late Eocene (Priabonian; e.g., Legendre and Hartenberger, 1992). If the Grande Coupure actually took place in the earliest Oligocene rather than at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, as Hooker (1992a) argued, then MP 20 straddles the boundary.

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