Spores (mammals)

  • ELSA-20 Megafauna Data
  • ELSA-20 Megafauna Data Smoothed
  • ELSA-20 Megaherbivore Presence of GI 10 – 8

Spores from various fungi are regularly observed during the pollen analysis. We observe about 20 different taxa, but count regularly only the spores from Sporormiella and Sordaria, and other less common coprophilous taxa. These two fungi genera cover the fecal remains of large herbivores, from modern cattle and sheep to reindeer, deer, bison, horse up to the glacial megafauna like mammoth. It is impossible to determine the mammals that produced the dung, but many spores of Sordaria and Sporormiella indicate the presence of large herds of mammals. If Sordaria and Sporormiella reach more than 2.5% of the total pollen number, they are regarded to document the presence of megafauna.

It is difficult to apply this relation to the ELSA-20-Stack data, because pollen are dissolved during the entire last glacial maximum, but also many of the stadials. Thus, we use the absolute number of Sordaria and Sporormiella relative to our internal standard and define the presence of megafauna if more than 2 Sordaria or 2 Sporormiella spores have been found in a sample with no pollen preservation.

According to this approach we observe presence of megafauna during the tundra times, but also during the LGM. The most pronounced maximum of Sporormiella is found after 14,700 yr b2k, when the climate warmed and late glacial humans are known from archeological excavations to have hunt mainly reindeer in the larger Eifel region. The influence of volcanism, dust, paleotemperature, vegetation type on the presence/absence of the megafauna will be presented in an upcoming paper.


Spores-related Papers

Britzius, S., Sirocko, F. (2023). Vegetation Dynamics and Megaherbivore Presence of MIS 3 Stadials and Interstadials 10–8 Obtained from a Sediment Core from Auel Infilled Maar, Eifel, Germany. Quaternary 6, 44. doi: 10.3390/quat6030044

Sirocko, F., Albert, J., Britzius, S., Dreher, F., Martínez-García, A., Dosseto, A., Burger, J., Terberger, T., Haug, G. (2022). Thresholds for the presence of glacial megafauna in central Europe during the last 60,000 years. Scientific Reports, 12(1): 20055. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22464-x