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Keywords:

  • Cheloniidae;
  • Chelonioidea;
  • classification;
  • Dermochelyidae;
  • osteology;
  • Protostegidae;
  • Reptilia;
  • Testudinata

Abstract Chelonioid sea turtles (Order Testudinata; Superfamily Chelonioidea) first appear in the early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian). Their long fossil record is excellent compared to most marine tetrapods. Nonetheless, there has been no inclusive attempt to provide an analysis of cladistic relationships among this group. In this paper, the following chelonioid classification is proposed, based on 76 characters among 20 fossil and six living well- represented genera:

  • 1
    Family Cheloniidae (Coniacian to Recent); Toxochelys, Ctenochelys, Osteopygis, Erquelinnesia, Allopleuron, Argillochelys, Puppigerus, Eochelone, Syllomus, Natator, Eretmochelys, Chelonia, Caretta, Lepidochelys
  • 2
    Family Protostegidae (Aptian to Maastrichtian?); ‘Santana new protostegid’,Rhinochelys, Notochelone, Desmatochelys, Chelosphargis, Protostega, Archelon
  • 3
    Family Dermochelyidae (Santonian? to Recent); Corsochelys, ‘HMG new dermo-chelyid’, Eosphargis, Psephophorus, Dermochelys.