The palaeontological heritage of the Capo Vaticano – Monte Poro area (Vibo Valentia, Italy): research, protection, and management


  • Antonella Cinzia Marra University of Messina
  • Roberta Somma Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Physical Sciences and Earth Sciences, University of Messina, Messina, 98166, Italy
  • Adriano Guido Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences and University Museum System - SiMU, Section of Palaeontology, University of Calabria and



Miocene, mammals, taphonomy, phylogeny, palaeogeography


The Late Miocene successions of the Capo Vaticano-Monte Poro (Southern Italy) area, well exposed at Cessaniti – Cava Gentile, preserve a palaeontological record particularly relevant for phylogenetic studies and paleogeographic reconstructions as well as for the popular scientific divulgation and museology. The rich record of Sirenians highly contributed to the knowledge of phylogeny and intraspecific variability of Metaxytherium serresii. The exclusive terrestrial mammal association, having African and Greco-Iranian affinities, allows intriguing suggestions in the paleogeography of the Central Mediterranean. New taphonomic analyses on invertebrates and vertebrates, here presented, suggest that the good fossil preservation is due to the rapid burial of skeletons in a semipermeable mixture of sandy/muddy sediments which were quickly cemented. Late partial dissolution of the carbonate cement among particles made the fossils easy to extract from the sediment. The collaboration among palaeontology researchers, fossil collectors, and local administrators, under the direction of Superintendence and the control of Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, allowed the recovery, study, and promotion of this precious paleontological record. The area has a good flow of tourists for the pleasant seaside, and fossiliferous sites could attract cultural tourism, through educational trails and a museum network which valorize the palaeontological and archaeological heritage of the hinterland.






Research Papers