(name derived from the village of Pikermi, near Athens, Greece), a group of fossil mammals that were widely distributed in southern and temperate latitudes (up to 55° N lat.) in the Upper Miocene and the Pliocene in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. The first finds were made near Pikermi.
The origin of Pikermi fauna was associated with the development in Eurasia during the early Neogene of grassy forest steppes, which were inhabited by various species of tridactylous horses (Hipparion), rhinoceroses, mastodons, giraffes, antelopes, deer, and other ungulates. Predators included civets, hyenas, martens, saber-toothed tigers, rodents, and apes. The fauna also included ostriches and other birds, turtles, lizards, and various amphibians.
The Pikermi fauna of various regions differed in genus and species composition, which may be explained by changes over time and by differences in physicogeographic conditions. In Europe and Asia, most representatives of the Pikermi fauna became extinct in the second half of the Pliocene, probably as a result of the cooling of the climate. In Africa and southern Asia, many descendants of the fauna constitute a significant portion of the extant mammals.
Large sites of Pikermi fauna have been found in India, China, Mongolia, and southern Europe. In the USSR, remains have been discovered in the southern Ukraine, Moldavia, the Caucasus, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and Southern Siberia.
REFERENCEOsnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
B. A. TROFIMOV