The evolutionary history of large carnivorous mammals through the Ice Age have been investigated for the Italian peninsula. No endemisms are recorded in the mainland of Italy and large carnivore species composition reflected the similar fauna of European continent. Morpho-ecological adaptation of extinct Plio-Pleistocene species have been investigated throughout temporal PaleoCommunities (9 PCOMs – spanning 3.2 to 0.3 Ma) with statistical accuracy. Trophic apparatus of extant and extinct species was investigated with a geometric morphometric analysis of mandible shape while locomotory habits were assessed using long bone indices. The mandible shape analysis performed on extant Carnivora taxa confirms their morphological differences due principally to taxonomic affiliation (family). Although, when phylogenetic history is controlled with comparative methods, significant differences still to occur among taxa with different diets and between small and large forms (threshold posed at 7 kilograms). Interestingly, both mandibular regions (corpus and ascending ramus) are informative of Carnivora ecological adaptations and they result integrated at a macroevolutionary scale. This survey allows to consider geometric morphometric as a reliable technique to apply on fossil mandibles. Feeding habits have been predicted with a good degree of accuracy in several PlioPleistocene large carnivores on the basis of mandible shape data. The latter data –selecting only the corpus regionhave been considered also to perform a morphospace comparison between large carnivore guilds of Italian PCOMs and extant guilds representative of five mainland ecosystems worldwide. Disparity values computed for mandibular corpus shape of Plio-Pleistocene guilds did not differ significantly from extant guilds. Morphological variability in mandible shape is negatively influenced by number of species in each guild as well as number of prey confirming that ecomorph specialization does not occur at the extreme region of morphospace. Long bone proportions of Plio-Pleistocene large carnivores are grouped in the variability of extant species. Although some phenomena of morphological convergences occur among extinct and extant taxa because of similar locomotor adaptation (e.g. cursorial) and same body size constraint. These morphoecological data were also used to predict the relative adaptability of Plio-Pleistocene species to certain habitats (grassland and tropical). The macroecological analysis of presence/absence data confirms the striking relationship between the abundances of both predators and their prey thought Ice Age. On the other hand no morphoecological coordinate changes occurs between predators and their prey. It is noteworthy that large carnivores are overrepresented in the Italian fossil record and became rarer from Galerian to the Aurelian (also because of a possible interaction with human activities). A GIS model was then computed to compare large mammal communities toward Plio-Pleistocene in Italy. Structural changes occurred in large herbivore communities from Villafranchian through the Aurelian because of climate changes. On the other hand, the spatial structure of large carnivore communities was more affected by their prey during the Villafranchian, while in the Galerian and Aurelian there was a greater influence of uncontrolled factors like climate and human activity as well.

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