RESEARCHERS from the Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution of Tarragona and the University of Granada have just announced the discovery of a new rodent genus that lived in the south of the Iberian Peninsula between 1.8 and one million years ago.
Fossilised parts of the prehistoric ‘rat’ have been unearthed at the sites of Fuente Nueva 3 and Barranco León, in Orce, and Quibas, in Abanilla.
The Orce archaeological site is famous for having offered the oldest evidence of human occupation on the European continent, over 1.2 million years ago.
Meanwhile, the Quibas site is known for housing a sequence with vertebrates that remains unique in Europe in its age, over 1.1 million years.
A collection of some 80 fossilised teeth located in archaeological sites of Fuente Nueva 3 and Quibas has been used to identify the new vole (a stockier version of field mice).
According to the Palaeontologists working on the site, this specific prehistoric ‘rat’ was until now unknown to science.
It is believed that this rodent is endemic to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, as so far it has only been identified in the Guadix-Baza basin and in the Quibas mountain range.