History of the Pipistrellus pipistrellus group in Central Europe in light of its fossil record
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In contrast to proposed paleobiogeographic scenarios based on molecular data, the fossil record suggests that in Central Europe the common pipistrelles, quite rich in the Holocene fossil record, first appeared as late as the present glacial cycle (including the Weichselian interstadials). Bats of this group are completely absent from the rich pre-Weichselian record available from Central Europe but occur in the early Middle Pleistocene record in the Mediterranean (Spain, Malta). Thus, it seems that the European range of common pipistrelles was restricted to the Mediterranean region until their northward spread during the present glacial cycle. The proposed range expansion (supposedly from multiple sources) is explained by climatic specificities of the present glacial cycle, namely with repeated extension of the semiarid, warm open-ground habitats that began in the Mediterranean region by the end of the Eemian.
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