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Keywords:

  • Galve;
  • Spain;
  • Barremian;
  • Lower Cretaceous;
  • Galvechelone lopezmartinezae;
  • Cryptodira

Abstract:  The Spanish town of Galve (Teruel) is notable because of the abundance of Upper Jurassic and, especially, Lower Cretaceous vertebrates recorded there. Although most groups have been studied in detail, information on turtles is very limited even though the material is relatively abundant. So far, no turtle taxa have been identified at the generic level. The only Lower Cretaceous articulated specimen from Galve is analysed here. It is identified as a representative of Cryptodira, Galvechelone lopezmartinezae gen. et sp. nov. Galvechelone lopezmartinezae is determined as a taxon belonging to the node that groups the turtles traditionally assigned to ‘Macrobaenidae’ and ‘Sinemydidae’, and other taxa such as the members of Panchelonioidea. This node, very abundant in the Lower Cretaceous of Asia, and with a broad subsequent distribution, has recently been recognized in the Lower Cretaceous of Europe. The diversity of basal members of Eucryptodira in the European Late Jurassic (represented by Thalassemydidae, Plesiochelyidae and Eurysternidae) was high. Owing to a relative scarcity of well-preserved early Cretaceous turtles from Europe, the knowledge of this group of reptiles is limited. The study of the new turtle from Galve, together with the recently described Hoyasemys jimenezi, and the recently completed review of the enigmatic Chitracephalus dumonii demonstrate that members of the cryptodiran node grouping ‘Macrobaenidae’, ‘Sinemydidae’ and Panchelonioidea were also very diverse in this period.