Villafranchian age (// VIL-ə-FRANK-ee-ən) is a period of geologic time (3.5–1.0 Ma):7 overlapping the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene used more specifically with European Land Mammal Ages. Named by Italian geologist Lorenzo Pareto for a sequence of terrestrial sediments studied near Villafranca d'Asti, a town near Turin, it succeeds the Ruscinian age.
The Villafranchian is sub-divided into six faunal units based on the localities of Triversa, Montopoli, Saint-Vallier, Olivola, Tasso and Farnetta.:149
A major division of both geological deposits and time, the Villafranchian is significant because the earliest hominids that clearly evolved into modern man (the australopithecines) appeared within it. The Villafranchian is partially contemporaneous with the Blancan Stage of North America.
- Rook, Lorenzo; Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido (2010). "Villafranchian: The long story of a Plio-Pleistocene European large mammal biochronologic unit". Quaternary International. 219: 134. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.01.007.
- The Pleistocene Boundary and the Beginning of the Quaternary edited by John A. Van Couvering. Cambridge University Press 1997
- Fossil Mammals of Asia: Neogene Biostratigraphy and Chronology, edited by Xiaoming Wang, Lawrence J. Flynn, Mikael Fortelius
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