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A taxonomic revision of geoemydid turtles from Siwalik-age of India and Pakistan

Rafaella C. GARBIN, Saswati BANDYOPADHYAY & Walter G. JOYCE

en European Journal of Taxonomy 2020 (652) - Pages 1-67

Published on 26 May 2020

Neogene (Siwalik-aged) deposits from India and Pakistan have yielded many vertebrate fossils, of which most were named during the 19th century, including numerous geoemydid turtles. In contrast to many other faunal components from the Siwaliks, geoemydids have not undergone taxonomic revision for more than a century and most fossils have therefore been believed to correspond to recent taxa. In this study, we conduct a taxonomic revision of all previously described geoemydid material from the Siwalik-age. We propose that all specimens of ‘Clemmys’ from the Siwaliks of Punjab, Pakistan should be identified as Melanochelys sivalensis comb. nov.; that Melanochelys tricarinata var. sivalensis represents a valid species, for which we propose the replacement name Melanochelys tapani to avoid homonymy; that specimens originally identified as Batagur cautleyi and Pangshura flaviventer cannot be identified beyond the generic level; and that many fragmentary palatochelydians cannot be identified to any particular species or genus due to the lack of preserved diagnostic osteological characters. With a few exceptions, the Siwalik fauna mostly corresponds in its distribution to that of the recent fauna, indicating a certain amount of geographic stasis. However, as the stratigraphic provenance of most material is poor, it is not possible to discern meaningful temporal patterns.


Keywords :

Paleontology, Neogene, taxonomy, Siwaliks, turtles

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