Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The oldest pre-Podocnemidid turtle (Chelonii, Pleurodira), from the early Cretaceous, Ceará state, Brasil, and its environment

F. de Lapparent de Broin


A new form of a chelonian Pleurodira is described, Brasilemys josai, n.g., n. sp. Its phyletic position is examined with respect to previously established phylogenies. It is situated with respect to recently described taxa whose position is not yet clearly established, such as Dortokidae, Hamadachelys and an unnamed form from Araripe. In the Podocnemidoidea, Brasilemys n.g. represents the earliest known specimen of the Podocnemidoidae, immediately after the divergence of the Bothremydidae. It is part of the formidable radiation in the Pelomedusoides which occurs during the early Cretaceous when South America separated from Africa. The turtle fauna in Chapada do Araripe includes four freshwater Pelomedusoides, samples of the ancient northern Gondwana fauna, as well as a cryptodiran turtle, possibly a littoral form belonging to a more cosmopolitan group. In agreement with the stratigrahical data as well as data from the study of fossil crocodiles, this turtle fauna dates between the late Aptian fauna of Gadoufaoua (Niger) and the late Albian-early Cenomanian fauna from the Sahara.

Key words: Chelonians, New taxon, Phyletic relationships, Cretaceous, Brasil, Palaeoecolgical and Stratigraphical considerations.

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