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A recent find of a Middle Villafranchian (c. 2.35–2.10 Ma) Canis cf. C. etruscus in the trawlings from the Oosterschelde concerns the oldest dog known from the Netherlands and is the first appearance record of this canid in the North Sea Basin. It shows that the tribe Canini was dispersed beyond south central Europe up to the northwestern edge of the continent. The find confirms the lack of synchroneity and usefulness of the so-called ‘Wolf Event’.
During the Pleistocene, the coastal marine bivalve mollusc Mya arenaria became extinct in northwest Europe. The species remained present in North America. Datings of Mya shells found in northern Denmark and the southern Baltic Sea suggest that repopulation of northwest European coasts already occurred before Columbus’ discovery of America (1492), possibly facilitated by Viking (Norse) settlers at Greenland and northeast North America. In this paper we report on findings of M. arenaria at five locations in the coastal landscape of the Netherlands: polders reclaimed from the Wadden Sea and the former estuaries of Oer-IJ and Old Rhine. The shells from four of these locations also date before 1492 AD.
We studied a Holocene peat fill of a small depression in Pleistocene coversand, in the western border zone of Het Gooi, to assess the early local and regional vegetation history in relation to sea-level rise, soil development and potential human impact. In the fourth millenium BC, a podzol which had formed in the depression became stagnative, leading to the development of a moorland pool. The local vegetation changed from dry heathland, through an amphibic vegetation type with, among others, Littorella uniflora and Lycopodiella inundata, to a permanently moist Sphagnum-dominated vegetation. The existence of moorland pools and the development of such habitats into Sphagnum-dominated vegetation are known from Late-Holocene anthropogenic, more or less open landscapes that were formed on a podzolising sandy soil under ericaceous vegetation. However, the recorded vegetation succession did not show any recognisable local human impact and therefore is attributed to natural succession. In the period concerned, sea level was still about 4 m below the land surface in the depression, implying that water logging occurred independent from a rise in sea level and associated groundwater level. It took until the Late Middle Ages before such rise led to significant water logging and peat growth in this border zone, but the mean groundwater level never reached to above NAP (Dutch Ordnance Datum).
Remains of elasmosaurid plesiosaurs are exceedingly rare in the type-Maastrichtian strata (Late Cretaceous, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium), in stark contrast to relatively common skeletal remains of mosasaurs. Here, we present an analysis of δ13C stable isotope values for tooth enamel of two elasmosaur teeth from the type Maastrichtian. The δ13C signal is a proxy for foraging area, trophic level and diving behaviour, the net value of which in these rare elasmosaurs turns out to be not noticeably different from that for the much commoner mosasaurs in the type Maastrichtian. Therefore, the rarity of elasmosaurs in the area probably reflects a primary near-absence of such reptiles during the latest Cretaceous, rather than a taphonomic artefact.
This paper describes the landscape evolution of the Waasland Scheldt polders in the north of Belgium from the Late Glacial – early Holocene to the present time, and the effects of this changing landscape on the human settlement. The regional landscape evolution has been visualised in a series of palaeogeographical maps for successive time frames. Two different map series were produced: a series of Holocene palaeogeographical reconstructions (11,000–950 cal BP) based on geotechnical, geological and archaeological data, and a series of post-Medieval landscape reconstructions (16th- to 19th-century) based on historical maps, land registers and soil data. Additional palaeoenvironmental information from fossil pollen and plant remains allowed reconstruction of the vegetation and wetland changes, particularly for the middle to late Holocene. Peat growth was the main key to understanding the landscape evolution of the Waasland Scheldt polders. Whereas the landscape evolution during the Holocene was mainly sea-level driven, the transformation of the landscape during the last millennium was largely due to human interventions.
An isolated, completely ossified vertebra tentatively ascribed to the non-cyamodontid placodont Pararcus diepenbroeki is described from the Anisian Vossenveld Formation in Winterswijk, the Netherlands, and compared to other material from the same locality. This fossil is the first completely ossified vertebra of the taxon and most likely originates from an adult specimen. It was recovered c. 16 m deeper in the stratigraphy than previously described material of the species, which is thus far known only from Winterswijk. Based on the slanting angle of the transverse process, the vertebra is interpreted to originate from the dorsal region. Besides the overall agreements in morphology that warrant a tentative identification as Pararcus diepenbroeki, the newly described vertebra deviates from other known Pararcus vertebrae in the presence of a longer, well-ossified neural spine and a strongly constricted, less pachyostotic and ovaloid vertebral centrum. General agreement in morphology with previously described vertebrae suggests this novel condition indicates a different anatomical position and perhaps a varied ossification pattern.