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Body skeleton similar to that of Protostega , but bones of plastron more slender, and median fontanelle larger. Zittel, Eastman, et al pp. The reduction of the shell is greater than that of the Protostegidae, and more reminiscent of Dermochelys. The bones of the limbs also show a remarkable specialization to marine life.

Either a primitive dermochelyid or an unrelated but convergent form. Wikipedia Italian Wikipedia Dutch Alternative relationships of chelonioid species according to left the morphology-based phylogeny of Gaffney and Meylan Natator depressus was not included in that analysis and right the molecular-based phylogeny of Thomson and Shaffer Names of higher taxa follow Gaffney and Meylan Silhouettes not to scale.

Diagram from Jones et al, fig 1; Creative Commons Attribution. Crown Group Chelonioidea Phylogeny: Gaffney and Meylan, erected the clade Euchelonioidea for the Cheloniidae, and a clade uniting Notochelone, Allopleuron, Desmatochelys, and the Dermochelyoidae Dermochelyidae and Protostegidae.

The tendency now according to statistical-computational cladistics is towards interpreting these Dermochelyid-like taxa as the result of evolutionary convergence. The name Euchelonioidea can be still be used in a more limited context as a synonym to or alternative for the confusing because the ambiguity in regards to the Linnaean-based taxonomy phylogenetic use of "Chelonoidea" and the the clumsy "Crown Chelonoidea" MAK Extant Chelonioidea include two families and eight species of extant sea turtles, the monospecific Dermochelyidae Dermochelys coriacea and the Cheloniidae.

Both lineages are represented by a number of fossil forms from the late Cretaceous and Cenozoic. They are pelagic animals with a worldwide distribution. Diet varies according to species, the giant leatherback turtle Dermochelys feeds mainly on jellyfish, ridleys and loggerheads Caretta and Lepidochelys on crabs and other benthic invertebrates, and green turtle Chelonia mydas , the only herbivorous species, adults feeding on kelp [Thalassia testudinium] Although they are widely protected, every living species is endangered by human activities, whether poaching, oceanic pollution, being caught in nets, injury through boat propellers, or loss of nesting sites through urbanization of coasts and their encasement in seawalls and revetments, and increasingly efficient fisheries.

Fr the Late Cretaceous, pan-oceanic Phylogeny: Secondary palate formed by broad maxilla with contributions from palatine, choanal passages separated by ventral plate of vomer forming prominent part of palate; foramen caroticum laterale and canalis caroticus lateralis much larger in diameter than foramen anterius canalis carotici interni and medial branch of canalis caroticus internus.

As with Panchelonioidea , the name Pancheloniidae is used by Joyce et al to refer to the stem-group that includes crown Cheloniidae and a number of extinct and ancestral lineages although technically speaking in cladistics you are not supposed to say "ancestors" because it cannot be proved that one species is an ancestor, we are using the term in the colloquial sense. Alternatives are "Chelonioinea" and Cheloniidae Gray, sensu Hirayama, We have retained the original Cheloniidae to refer to both more advanced stem and also crown taxa.

Cheloniidae in this definition is represented by such taxa as Puppigerus and Euclastes Joyce et al p. The boundaries between Pan Cheloniidae and more primitive or ancestral stem Pan Chelonoidea are blurred.

On the one hand, Lophochelyines and Euclastes as "Osteopygis" have been included in the Toxochelyidae Carroll, , p. Late Campanian of Mexico. Previously included under Euclastes, this is a much more primitive animal, either a stem chelonioid or a very basal cheloniid, and only distantly reelated to Cenozoic cheloniids.

It is distinguished from both both stem-chelonioids such as Toxochelys and stem-cheloniids like Ctenochelys Lophochelyinae by an extensive secondary palate, an advanced feature that allows simultanous breathing and feeding. Mexichelys fed on hard-shelled prey durophagy.

These animals were among the first that replaced the protostegids during the Campanian, but by the Maastrichtian they had in turn been replaced by convergently durophagous stem-cheloniid lineage that continued into the middle Miocene. The Lophochelyinae are a family of Late Cretaceous primitive sea turtles that represented a distinct and apparently geographically limited lineage. They range in size from the small Lophochelys, with a plastron length of about 20 cm, to the large Ctenochelys, with an equivalent length of aboout a meter, and the very large Prionochelys, witha shell of about 1.

The fossil remains of these animals have been found in Alabama, Arkansas and New Jersey. Here used rather informerly to include Euclastes grade sea turtlles and above, which heps to reduce the long phylogenies listed above.

Rhetechelys, Osteopygoides, Osteopygis crania only Range: Latest Cretaceous to Eocene of North America. Lytoloma Cope, is a closely related genus, it is known from the Latest Cretaceous of England, as well as Morrocco and possibly the Eocene of Tunisia. Copyright John Maisano Characters: Skull resembling that of Caretta.

Carapace rounded posteriorly, vacuities of shell smaller than in Carettas; epiplastrals narrow; exposed portion of entoplastron very short, xiphiplastrals uniting extensively in the median line. Broad, flat extensive secondary palate; wide, dentary bone with an elongated symphysis and flat triturating surface; low tomial ridge on the beak, and primitive humerus Lynch and Parham Comments: Head broad and flattened, with eyes far forward, like the living loggerhead turtle Zittel, Eastman, Woodward, et al , p.

Unlike the contemporary Toxochelys and Eochelone, Euclastes had a secondary palate, although not as developed as in Ctenochelys. The carapace is rounded at the rear, vacuities gaps in the shell, a common marine turtle feature not as large as in modern forms Zittel, Eastman, Woodward, et al , p.

These near-shore and marine turtles inhabited the opening Atlantic coastline of West and North Africa and Western Europe. The well-known Osteopygis is a chimera based on the head of Euclastes and the post-crania of macrobaenids. The genus is something of a wastebasket taxon. Lynch and Parham attempted to phylogenetically define Euclastes as those taxa that share a more recent common ancestor with the latest Creteacous type species Euclastes platyops Cope than to extant sea turtles or well-known Paleogene taxa, but the only specimen of E.

Known only from an enormous humerus, this gigantic sea turtle lived in the southern regions of the Tethys Ocean about kilometres off the north eastern margins of Cretaceous Africa. Estimated total length is over 3. This genus lends its name to the paraphyletic subfamily Eocheloniinae, which includes a number of stem cheloniids.

The skull of Eochelone is broad and flattened, the eyes are to the side rather than to the front as in more advanced forms. The carapace is elongated and does not have a keel. Zittel, Eastman, et al This was a small sea turtle, with a plastron length of about 60 cm Mlynarski p. The type specimen is composed of a grouping of cervical vertebrae I-III, partial skull, and disarticulated lower jaw. The fossils were all recovered by A.

Yarkov from fossiliferous outcrops of the Beryozovaya beds exposed at the Rasstrigin 2 locality. Itilochelys was first studied by I. Averianov of the Zoological Institute along with A. Their type description of the genus and species was published in the journal Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RSA. The specific epithet rasstrigin is in reference to the type locality of the specimen.

Itilochelys rasstrigin is one of three fossil cheloniid sea turtle taxa which have been recovered from the Volgograd region and the most complete specimen recovered so far. The other two taxa are represented by a specimen of the genus Euclastes known from the Karpovka site and a specimen related to the genus Tasbacka from the Malaya Ivanovka site. The placement of Itilochelys rasstrigin in the family Cheloniidae is supported by the contact of the squamosal and parietal bones, an emarginated v-shaped crest on the underside of the basisphenoid, and features of the nasal bone structure.

Placement of the species as a stem member in the family is based on the structure of the humerus which shows a morphology transitioning towards the derived pelagic structuring of modern cheloniids.

A small sea turtle, with a plastron length of about 20 cm Mlynarski p. Argillochelys is the third after Toxochelys and Allopleuron-Mesodermochelys of four ecologically convergent specialised lineages with thin dentaries with significant symphyseal ridges imply shearing rather than crushing; possibly feeding on plants like sea grasses.

Originally described as Euclastes hutchisoni is the youngest member of this lineage and is known from the middle Miocene Temblor Formation of California.

Lynch and Parham , Brinkman p. Fossil of Puppigerus parkinsonii, at Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Another representative of the subfamily Eocheloniinae. Fossils show that Puppigerus was around 90 centimeters long, and its weight has been estimated as being somewhere around kilograms. Although cheloniids such as Puppigerus first appeared during the Cretaceous, several traits of this genus give it more of a resemblance to modern cheloniids: The pygal rearmost plate of the upper shell also lacked a notch seen in earlier cheloniids.

It was a herbivore, living off marine vegetation, and one of the "best-adapted" prehistoric turtles: Its front legs were flipper-like, but its hind legs were not developed in this manner, suggesting that it would have spent considerable time on dry land, where females would have laid their eggs. Despite its good preservation, the phylogenetic placement of this species is unclear as it has not been determined cladistically. Many fossils of marine Cheloniids were traditionally identified as "Chelonia".

Specimen at Senckenberg Museum of Frankfurt. Most of these species are capable of hybridising with others in the family Karl et al see also essay on hybridisation among giant tortoises The female returns to the same nest area every years. Determing evolutionary relationships within the Cheloniidae on morphological grounds has been difficult. Much of the problems are due to overall similarity, with species and genera nearly indistinguishable in terms of external morphology Bowen, p.

The various species are distinguished by details such as the prefrontal scales on the head, the number of and shape of scutes on the carapace, and the type of inframarginal scutes on the plastron. Molecular phylogeny however provides a celare picture Bowen, , and we have followed here the recent consensus Naro-Maciel et al , Thomson and Shaffer , Guillon et al There are a number of early Cenozoic fossil forms that may or may not belong here.

A large sea turtle from the Earliest Paleocene Danian age of Illinois has been assigned to the recent genus Chelonia green sea turtle , but many such cases fossils assigned to living genera have proven to be mistaken or impossible to confirm, so this identification still requires corroboration Jehle, , and the very early stratigraphic date makes it dubious. The late Oligocene Carolinochelys, from the Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina has been suggested as a possible ancestor of the living loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta, although this has yet to be confirmed with cladistic analysis.

A mounted skeleton at the Science Museum of Minnesota, in a swimming pose, is the first articulated specimen of this kind. It is about one meter long, and was found in association with whales, the dugong Crenatosiren, sea birds, the crocodile Gavialosuchus, other turtles, and fishes. The oldest undisputed cheloniids are an unnamed form from the Early Miocene Brinkman of Oregan, and Procoplochelys grandaeva from the middle Miocene of eastern North America Joyce et al p.

Green turtle, Chelonia mydas, Gimp-Savvy.

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