ON THE SUBDIVISIONS AND EVOLUTION OF THE QUATERNARY MAMMALIAN FAUNAS OF SOUTH CHINA
Li Yanxian (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Academia Sinica)
In Quaternary South China, however, through a series of investigations and studies, four successive major mammalian faunas have been reeognized. The present author tries to give a review of the subdivisions and evolution of these faunas.It seems to the author that the Yuanmou fauna may be divided into two horizons: the early one (may be referred to upper Pliocene in age) (including forms from members Ⅰ and Ⅱ) is characterized by the predominance of forest animals, and the late one (from members Ⅲ and Ⅳ, may be referred to lower Pleistocene in age) shows an ecological condition of forest-parkland. The Liucheng Gigantopithecus fauna seems to be later than the Yuanmou fauna in bearing more living forms. The Liucheng Gigantopithecus fauna came into intimate relations with the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna, nearly could be regarded as a prototype of the latter. It is interesting that the mammalian faunas from Gaoping (Jianshi, Hubei) and Bijiashan (Liuzhou, Guangxi) show a transitional feature from the Liucheng Gigantopithecus fauna to the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna.The Ailuropoda-stegodorn fauna is well-known and had a wide distribution. Some authors have made endeavours at the subdivisions of this fauna] complex. It ia Prof. Zhou who first (1957) distinguished the special fauna associated with Gigantopithecus remains from the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna and considered the former as the Gigantopithecus fauna, its age was determined as early Pleistocene. It has received Prof. Pei's assent. In 1965 Prof. Pei pointed out that "the distinction of the Stegodon-Ailuropoda fauna (sic) of Middle Pleistocene from that of Late Pleistocene age, however, is not clearly displayed. But in a certain case a fauna may be regarded as Late Pleistocene in age, if human fossils, either Homo sp. or Homo sapiens. are in it." Pei and Zhou have laid a useful foundation for the subdivisions of the so-called Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna.Recently, Han et al. (1975) have forwarded that the fauna bearing Gigantopithecus blacki may be divided into three different horizons, i.e. the Liucheng Gigantopitheeus fauna, the Gaoping fauna and the middle Pleistocene one from Daxin, Wuming and Bama. The latter, in fact, is a typical. Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna excepting that it bears Gigantopithecus blacki.The present author suggests that the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna may be subdivided into four successive horizons, i.e. 1) that associated with Tertiary survivals or archaic elements, e.g. Group B of the Guanyindong deposits (with Gomphotheriidae), Daxin, Wuming, Bama (with Gigantopithecus blacki), Fengmen Cave of Liucheng (with Tetralophodon liuehengensis), Xiaoyan Cave of Liujiang (with Stegodon preorientalis), Yanjinggou I and Geleshan (Sichuan) etc., their age may be regarded as early Middle Pleistocene; 2) that associated with the Middle Pleistocene typical forms, e.g. Shilongtou (Daye, Hubei) (with Hyaena sinensis), its age may be regarded as late Middle Pleistocene; 3) that assoeiated with neanderthaloid human remains, e.g. Shizishan (Maba, Guangdong), its age may be regarded as early Upper Pleistocene; 4) that associated with Homo sapiens or cultural remains made by man belonging to this stage, e:g. the Liujiang Man Cave (Guangxi), its age may be regarded as late Upper Pleistocene.The living mammalian fauna of South China rooted in the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna and by and large formed in the late stage of Upper Pleistocene. It seems postsible that a few elements of the Ailuropoda-Stegodon fauna could survive to early Holocene. The full establishment of the living mammalian fauna in South China is marked by the disappearance of the Pleistocene forms and migrated forms.The Quaternary mammalian faunas of South China evidently show an endemic feature. During the Quaternary they gradually evolved. In comparison with those of North China, the Quaternary mammalian faunas of South China are characterized by 1) more lasting duration of the archaic forms; 2) earlier appearance of some living forms; 3) less clearness of the change of faunas.