Granados, A., Oms, O., Anadón, P., Ibáñez-Insa, J., Kaakinen, A., & Jiménez-Arenas, J. M. (2021). Geochemical and sedimentary constraints on the formation of the Venta Micena early Pleistocene site (Guadix-Baza Basin, Spain). Scientific Reports, 11(1), 22437. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01711-7
Despite the paleontological relevance of the terrestrial Early Pleistocene Venta Micena bonebed (Baza Basin, Spain), it lacks a comprehensive geochemical/sedimentological study. Here, we demonstrate that the 1.5-m-thick Venta Micena limestone formed in a relatively small freshwater wetland/pond located at the periphery of the large saline Baza paleolake. Two microfacies are observed, with high and low contents of invertebrate fossils, and which originated in the centre and margin of the wetland, respectively. X-ray diffraction (XRD) mineralogy and paleohydrological characterization based on ostracod and bulk-rock geochemistry (?13C and ?18O) indicate that the limestone reflects a general lowstand of the Baza lake, permitting the differentiation of freshwater wetlands that were fed by adjacent sources. Conversely, during highstands, the Baza lake flooded the Venta Micena area and the freshwater fauna was replaced by a saline one. Bulk-rock isotopic data indicate that the lower interval C1 of the limestone (bone-rich in marginal settings) displays general negative values, while the upper interval C2 (bone free) displays less negative values. The bones of predated mammals accumulated in the marginal areas, which were flooded and buried by recurring water-table fluctuations. Lake dynamics played a critical role in bone accumulation, which was previously considered as representing a hyena den.