Ecological parameteres of the Late Neogene mammalian communities

Late Neogene and Quaternary changes of climate and vegetation in the Carpathian Basin can be reconstructed using some ecological parameters of mammalian communities. This study is based on mammalian faunal data from 156 layers of 64 Upper Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene localities from the Carpathian Basin. Some of the applied methods analyse the species composition of mammalian faunas (cluster analysis, similarity and longevity studies, and reconstruction of evolutionary lineages). These methods allow the documentation of the first-, second- and third-order events in the mammalian fauna. The other group of analyses consists of taxon-free methods which are based on the ecological parameters (body size, trophic preferences, number of species) of mammalian species and communities. The distribution of ecotypes in a fauna (ecological variables) is primarily determined by the climate and vegetation. Therefore the ecological variables (distribution of body size and the trophic preferences, diversity index) together define the ecological unit which is characteristic to the community. In the Carpathian Basin 10 ecological units are distinguished and interpreted in the studied period. The succession of these ecological units provides a useful framework for tracking Late Pliocene and Quaternary changes in climate and vegetation.