The cricetid rodents from Gratkorn (Austria, Styria): a benchmark locality for the continental Sarmatian sensu stricto (late Middle Miocene) in the Central Paratethys
The recent discovery of a terrestrial vertebrate assemblage in the clay pit St. Stefan at Gratkorn (Austria, Styrian Basin) is of major importance for our understanding of the evolution of late Middle Miocene mammal assemblages in the Paratethys realm. The cricetid rodent assemblage includes four species: Megacricetodon minutus Daxner, 1967, Democricetodon sp. nov. (sensu Kälin & Engesser 2001), Eumyarion sp., and "Cricetodon" fandli sp. nov. The latter species belongs to the "Cricetodon" fandli-C. klariankae Hír, 2007 lineage, which allows for a long-distance correlation with other late Middle Miocene/earliest Late Miocene European localities. The biostratigraphic conclusions drawn from the study of the fossils from Gratkorn concurs with the age estimates based on regional geology, paleomagnetic measurements, and the gastropod-based biostratigraphy at the base of the Late Sarmatian s. str. (late Serravallian, latest Volhynian), around 12-12.2 Ma (Chron C5An.1n) ago.