An alternative interpretation of Peltochelys duchastelii as a paracryptodire

Joyce, Walter G.; Rollot, Yann

Peltochelys duchastelii is an enigmatic turtle from Early Cretaceous (middle Barremian–early Aptian) Sainte-Barbe Formation of Bernissart, Belgium. In more recent literature, there has been strong support for the trionychian affinities of this taxon, but this interpretation is less consistent with external data, in particular biogeography and temporal considerations. We provide a reinterpretation here of the lectotype of Peltochelys duchastelii that differs from more recent ones in key features. Although we agree that this turtle lacks mesoplastra, we conclude that it has 11 pairs of peripherals (not 10), likely had 12 pairs of marginals (not 11), lacks a contact between peripheral 1 and costal 1, and that a midline contact of peripherals 1 hinders the nuchal from contributing to the margin of the shell. This unusual set of characters is otherwise known from roughly coeval taxa from Europe and North America. Phylogenetic analysis yields a previously unrecognized clade of basal paracryptodiran turtles from the Late Jurassic to Paleogene of Euramerica united by a nuchal that is withdrawn from the anterior margin of the shell. The name Compsemydidae is referred to this clade. The novel hypothesis suggests that Peltochelys duchastelii did not immigrate from Asia but instead originated in Europe.

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Joyce, Walter G. / Rollot, Yann: An alternative interpretation of Peltochelys duchastelii as a paracryptodire. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Walter G. Joyce

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