Identification of the Lower Cretaceous pleurodiran turtle Taquetochelys decorata as the only African araripemydid species


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 18 (1) - Pages 24-32

Published on 28 February 2019

Araripemydidae is a clade of freshwater pleurodiran turtles originally described in South America, where it is represented by the Brasilian Aptian–Albian Araripemys barretoi. Two potential members of this lineage were defined in an Aptian level of Africa, in Gadoufaoua (Niger): Taquetochelys decorata, described from several isolated plates, and Lagaremys tenerensis, known from an almost complete skeleton. The review of the Araripemydidae record, and the analysis of the intraspecific variability present in that and in other clades of Pleurodira, allow me to refute their attribution to two different forms. ‘ L. tenerensis ’ is here recognized as a junior synonym of T. decorata . Therefore, the priority of T. decorata is demonstrated, as well as its attribution to Araripemydidae. The almost complete skeletal anatomy of the two currently recognized members of this Aptian–Albian clade (i.e. the African T. decorata and the South American A. barretoi ) is well known, which is uncommon for the Cretaceous pleurodiran turtles.


Pleurodira, Araripemydidae, Gadoufaoua, Niger, Aptian

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