Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The European Early Cretaceous cryptodiran turtle Chitracephalus dumonii and the diversity of a poorly known lineage of turtles

Adán Pérez-García

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 57 (3), 2012: 575-588 doi:

Chitracephalus dumonii was named based on some of the most complete turtle remains from the Lower Cretaceous of Europe, and yet the taxon has barely been mentioned since. Indeed, new specimens were erroneously attributed to a new taxon, “Salasemys pulcherrima”. The synonymy is recognized here, and this extends the geographical range of this turtle and provides examples of individuals at different stages of ontogenetic development. The peculiar structure of its shell, and its ontogenetic development, are unique to this taxon. The systematic position of C. dumonii was previously unclear, usually being referred to Testudinata incertae sedis. Here, it is placed in a cladistic analysis, which shows that C. dumonii, and the recently described Hoyasemys jimenezi form part of a Lower Cretaceous European clade of Cryptodira that includes “macrobaenid”, “sinemydid”, and panchelonioidean turtles.

Key words: Testudines, Eucryptodira, Cryptodira, Chitracephalus dumonii, “Salasemys pulcherrima”, Cretaceous, Belgium, Spain.

Adán Pérez-García [], Departamento de Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, José Antonio Novais 2, 28040 Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, Spain.

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