Abstract Fossil remains of at least four mature to old mature male individuals of Mammuthus primigenius have been discovered in a peat-bog of Late Pleistocene age, situated near to the town of Padul in the Granada Basin (Southern Spain). Radiocarbon dates indicate the presence of woolly mammoth in Southern Spain between 35.8 and 25.7 ka BP (40.4–30.6 cal ka BP), a time span corresponding with the later part of MIS 3. The Padul mammoths did not differ morphometrically from individuals of contemporaneous populations of other European regions, but represent the westernmost portion of an extended and continuous Holarctic belt of mammoth distribution. The area immediately northwest of the Pyrenees including a slender belt of dry land along the coast of the Bay of Biscay is considered the immigration route of M. primigenius into the Iberian Peninsula. The southernmost extent of Iberian woolly mammoths correlates with periods of particularly dry and cold climatic conditions, where they are documented in terrestrial and marine sediment sequences of the region. The southern expansion of M. primigenius during the Late Pleistocene extended to similar latitudes in Europe, Asia and North America, paralleling the distribution of suitable steppe- or tundra-steppe like environments. The woolly mammoth's southernmost advances were limited by the vegetational character of corresponding landscapes, by the configuration of marine shore lines and high mountain chains and by the extension of semideserts and deserts. Phases of mammoth dispersal into the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas during the later part of MIS 3 and early MIS 2 can be roughly correlated with the southern distribution of the species in the eastern Palaearctic. Along the eastern coast of the Pacific Ocean, the topography and glaciation of the Rocky Mountains range prevented a similar dispersal of woolly mammoths into western North America. The expansion of Late Pleistocene M. primigenius within the inner-continental areas of Eurasia and North America differs chronologically from those at the continental margins.
D. Álvarez-Lao, Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke, N. García
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology