Latium paleo-environment

3d model and reconstruction

Latium paleo-environment

Reconstruction of the Latium paleo-environment in the Ceprano area, locality Isoletta, about 270,000 years ago.

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Short history of

Latium paleo-environment

The geo-morphology survey, but most importantly the stratigraphy analysis of the artificial sections presented, have revealed particularly interesting elements at the site of Isoletta, just south of Ceprano.

The integration of data from multiple studies (stratigraphy, sediments and structure on the sections observed, malacology, paleo-botanic and paleo-fauna for the macro/micro- findings) has made it possible to produce a paleo-environmental development model confirmed by tooth findings of Bos (174,000 years before the present) and Elephas (385.000 years before the present).

The most ancient terms in the succession, dating to about 385,000 years before the present, point to the existence of a margin lake environment with placid and cool waters, 25-30 meters deep at the most.

The lake ecosystem bank was characterized by lush hygrophile vegetation and abundant aquatic fauna, with small reptiles, amphibians, fish and crustaceans. The ground above water was populated by various mammals including elephants, rhinos and deer. There followed a phase of gradual and slow filling of the lake due to terrigenous materials.

On the ground above water a forest landscape developed with fir, oak, beech forests and large meadows: a plant formation typical of a temperate-damp climate. The lake deposits are engraved by a paleochannel, filled with sediments which point to the presence of conifers, pine and fir trees, as well as typical deciduous plants such as beech, oak, ash trees and alders.

With the final withdrawal of the lake, a typical river environment established itself. In the morpho-development model designed, the area – around 174,000 years before the present – looked like an extended alluvial plain with a network crossed by multiple canals. These shallow canals were separated by longitudinal and transversal bars which, when there was little water, could emerge and be covered in vegetation.

Among Isoletta sections, one in particular has produced – apart from stratigraphy information useful for reconstruction of the fluvial sedimentary environment – about 30 very well preserved bones from a single Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus.