We report the discovery of remains of a large chelonian from the base of the early Paleocene Khadro Formation exposed in the Ranikot Fort area (Ranikot Group, Sindh Province, Southern Pakistan). This formation already yielded the snake Gigantophis Andrews, 1901, studied by our friend Jean-Claude Rage. The chelonian specimens consist of a large carapace and a shell fragment of Bothremydidae, a family of Gondwanan origin. A new genus and species, Sindhochelys ragei n. gen., n. sp. is identified from the first specimen and named in honor of Jean-Claude Rage. It is the first report of a Bothremydidae in Southern Pakistan. Its affinities with Cretaceous and Paleocene representatives of the family are discussed. The association of characters such as the shape of the shell, anterior plastral scute pattern and strongly marked decoration characterize the taxon and, despite some similarities, allows excluding close phylogenetic affinities with Taphrosphyini and Carteremys group; other well-documented bothremydids are also excluded. The shell fragment, also strongly decorated, is left undetermined. The discovery of two new littoral bothremydid specimens in the early Paleocene of Pakistan fills a geographic and stratigraphic gap in our knowledge of the family, which is known since the continental early Cretaceous of Africa, diversifying in the world up to the Miocene deposits of the Neotethys. A particular diversification during the Maastrichtian-Paleocene is recognized along the neotethyan coasts, and occasional dispersals across this ocean were possible. Sindhochelys ragei n. gen., n. sp. may have colonized the Indian subcontinent by this time, or may represent an older diversification before the Gondwana breakup.
Bothremydidae, Southern Pakistan, geology, Pelomedusoides, Gondwana, Neotethys, new genus, new species