The Candiacervus major stinco (specimen number 28 sopra Capasso Barbato & Petronio 1986 ) and metatarsal bone (specimen number 30 mediante Capasso Barbato & Petronio 1986 ) herein studied are part of the rich fossil sample collected sopra the 70s at the Bate cave and currently stored in the University Museum of Earth Science (MUST, previously Museum of Paleontology), Department of Earth Sciences of the Avvedutezza University (Rome, Italy).
major tibia and metatarsus with those of Cretan Candiacervus species and large continental deer (Eucladoceros, Megaloceros, Celvalces, and Alces) from various localities.
The histomorphological features shown by the bones of this species have been compared with those of a left metatarsus (MPUR/V coll. Bate, n 16b durante Capasso Barbato 1989 ) belonging esatto the group of the smallest deer found durante the cave. The left metatarsal bone could be identified as C. ropalophorus (and so called here from now on), though the hypothesis that it could represent an individual belonging puro one or another of the species of size-group 2 (Candiacervus sp. II, de Vos 1979 , 1984 ) cannot be excluded.
Bone measurements were taken using per digital caliper accurate to 0.01 mm. Multivariate statistical analysis have been performed by means of PAST software (Hammer et al. 2001 ).
The bones were submitted preciso radiological analysis. The digital radiographic images of the stinco and metatarsus were captured exposing the bones at per distance of 120 cm from the Quantita-ray tube programmed with 100 kV, 10 bensi, 5 s of time. This distance permits considering as parallel the rays crossing the bones. The radiological images corresponding onesto the central part of the shaft enable us esatto measure the dimension of the medullary cavity and the thickness of the cortical bone (Croker et al. 2016 ). The parameter R/t (the ratio between the radius of the whole bone section and the cortical thickness) has been calculated in per stinco and metatarsus of C. major and Eucladoceros giulii from Untersmassfeld (Germany) (stinco num. IQW 501 (Mei. 16 022) metatarsus num. IQW 500 (Mei. 16 021); Senckenberg Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology Weimar, collection) following Currey and Alexander ( 1985 ). The obtained parameters have been compared sicuro the Cervidae R/t parameters available con literature (Laurin et al. 2011 ; Amson & Kolb 2016 ).
The radiotransparency of the bone tissue was estimated by subjecting esatto a colorimetric lumenapp analysis a square of 3 mm per side of the diaphysis radiological images, using the Scion image software (Scion Corporation, Frederick, MD, USA). The reference values were 0 (white, corresponding to maximum radiopacity) and 255 (black, corresponding sicuro maximum radiotransparency) (Muro et al. 2013 ). A metatarsus of an extant Cervus elaphus was used as reference comparison (mean value 78).
Per sample approximately 0.5 cm thick was removed from the stinco and metatarsal bone at the level of the diaphysis by means of per steel cutting disk mounted per verso mini-portable electrical screwdriver (Bosch). The small bone blocks were embedded with a bicomponent epoxy resin (Araldite 2020, Huntsman, Basel, Switzerland), using verso degassing vacuum chamber (Ablaze1, Ablaze, Hong Kong) preciso avoid bubbles. It was cut and ground by means of a thin section cutting and grinding machine (Geoform102, Metkon Instruments, Bursa, Turkey) and an abrasive cutting machine (Metacut302, Metkon Instruments) by using per diamond disk (Dimos O 250, Metkon Instruments). Sections with final thickness of 80 ?m were mounted onto glass slides with Eukitt (Merck, Darmstadt, Germany) and covered. Sections were observed and photographed using per Zeiss Axiophot microscope at 2.5?, 10?, and 20? magnifications under transmitted light and polarized light. Images were digitalized and the measurements have been taken using the Scion Image programma. The bone tissue types have been described following the classification proposed by Francillon-Vieillot et al. ( 1990 ). The same protocol and histomorphometric procedures were followed durante order sicuro amico morphological and histomorphological features of the C. ropalophorus metatarsal bone (Palombo & Zedda 2016 ).