Cheloniidae—Sea Turtles // Emydidae—Pond Turtles // Kinosternidae—Mud Turtles // Testudinidae—Tortoises
The turtles, known under various names, including Chelonia and Testudines, have long been considered as members of the Reptilia. However, I follow here a classification that recognizes the Chelonia as a taxonomic class. For those interested, Becker et al. (2011) and their references address much of the evidence.
Meylan (2001) gives characters and other information and is accessible on the web. The most notable characteristic of turtles is, of course, the shell, possessed in one form or another by all. The relatively solid armor preserves well as a fossil. Although many turtles are aquatic, those generally called tortoises are terrestrial. Most Pleistocene records of turtles in the literature from our region are of tortoises, though aquatic taxa are expectable in open sites.
Literature. Becker et al. 2011; Meylan 2001.
Last Update: 26 Jan 2013