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The name of Baccinello, near Grosseto, is connected with the finding of an exceptional fossil: the articulated skeleton of an antropomorph monkey of the species Oreopithecus bambolii. The fossil was discovered on 2 August 1858, thanks to the perseverance of the Swiss paleontologist Johannes Hürzeler, near this small village born in the mining district ective during those years in Maremma, in southern Tuscany. The specimen, today hosted in the Museum of Natural History of the Florence University, was friendly baptised with the nickname of "Sandrone" bu the miners that collaborated to the excavation of the fossil, recovered from the depths through galleries and tunnels dug to extract the lignite that buried it since the upper Miocene.

Correlated sites

Fiume Santo
Montebamboli

References

Cicerone M. & Lorini A. (2008). Baccinello, il borgo minerario dell’ominide. Storia, memoria e cronaca. Collana Archivi riemersi, Edizioni Effigi, Arcidosso, GR (http://www.cpadver.com).

Cioppi E. & Rook L. (2011). Vertebrati continentali Miocenici. In: Monechi S. & Rook L. (eds). Il Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università di Firenze. Volume 3°: Le collezioni geologiche e paleontologiche. Florence University Press: pp. 207-219.

Clarke R. (2011). Il restauro del cranio di Oreopithecus e la sua peculiare anatomia. pp. 222-223, In: Monechi S. & Rook L. (eds). Il Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università di Firenze. Volume 3°: Le collezioni geologiche e paleontologiche. Florence University Press.

Hürzeler J. (1949). Neubeschreibung von Oreopithecus bambolii Gervais. Schweizerisches Paläontologische Abhandlungen 66: 1-20.

Hürzeler J. (1958). Oreopithecus bambolii Gervais, a preliminary report. Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel 69: 1-48.

Köhler M. & Moyá-Solá S. (1997). Ape-like or hominid-like? The positional behaviour of Oreopithecus bambolii reconsidered. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 94: 11747-11750.

Moyá-Solá S. (2011). Oreopithecus: una scimmia antropomorfa evoluta in ambiente insulare. pp. 220-222, In: Monechi S. & Rook L. (eds). Il Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università di Firenze. Volume 3°: Le collezioni geologiche e paleontologiche. Florence University Press.

Moyá-Solá S. & Köhler M. (1997). The phylogenetic relationships of Oreopithecus bambolii Gervais, 1872. Comptes Rendus de Academie de Sciences de Paris 324: 141-148.

Moyá-Solá S., Köhler M. & Rook L. (1999). Evidence of hominidlike precision grip capabilities in the hand of the European Miocene ape Oreopithecus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 96: 313-317.

Rook L. (2012). Basel-Tuscany a long-lasting link. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology 131(1): 7-9.

Rook L., Bondioli L., Köhler M., Moyá Solá S. & Macchiarelli R., 1999, Oreopithecus was a bipedal ape after all: evidence from the iliac cancellous architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 96: 8795-8799.

In the web

Atti del Museo di Storia Naturale della Maremma - Special issue dedicated to the XL anniversary of the discovery of the Oreopithecus bambolii articulated skeleton

Text by Lorenzo Rook
Photos from the archives of the Naturhistorisches Museum, Basilea, and Museum of Natural History, University of Florence.

(partially in English)