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New turtle remains from the Late Cretaceous of Monte Alto-SP, Brazil, including cranial osteology, neuroanatomy and phylogenetic position of a new taxon

Abstract

A high diversity of land vertebrates is known from the Late Cretaceous deposits of the Bauru Basin, Brazil, including at least five turtle taxa, all belonging to the clade Podocnemidoidae. Some of the richest fossil sites of this basin are in the area of Monte Alto, which yielded several squamate, dinosaur, and crocodyliform taxa. Yet, the single turtle reported so far from this area was only briefly described. Here, we further describe that specimen, a complete but very crushed shell, as well as a partial skull, both found in outcrops of the Adamantina Formation. Comparison of the shell to other podocnemidoid taxa reveals its affinities to Roxochelys wanderleyi, a turtle originally described from that same stratigraphic unit. The comparative description of the skull and its inclusion in a phylogenetic study, supports the proposal of a new taxon, Yuraramirim montealtensis, representing a lineage (Peiropemydidae) so far known only from the Marília Formation of the Bauru Basin and the early Paleocene of Bolivia. The digitally reconstructed endocast and inner ear of the new taxon were also described, as not previously done for a fossil pleurodire.

Kurzfassung

Die Diversität von Landwirbeltieren aus den spät-kretazischen Ablagerungen des Bauru-Beckens in Brasilien ist hoch. Zu den bekannten Taxa zählen mindestens fünf Schildkröten, die allesamt der Gruppe der Podocnemidoidae angehören. Einige der fossilreichsten Fundstellen des Beckens befinden sich in der Monte Alto-Gegend, in der mehrere Taxa von Squamaten, Dinosauriern und Crocodyliformen gefunden worden sind. Die einzige aus dieser Gegend dokumentierte Schildkröte wurde bisher allerdings nicht umfangreich beschrieben. In der vorliegenden Arbeit beschreiben wir jenes Fundstück, ein komplett aber verdrückt erhaltener Panzer, sowie ein unvollständiger Schädel, die beide aus den Aufschlüssen der Adamantina-For-mation stammen. Vergleiche mit Panzermaterial anderer podocnemidoider Schildkröten lassen Affinitäten zu Roxochelys wanderleyi erkennen, welche ursprünglich aus derselben stratigraphischen Einheit beschrieben wurde. Die vergleichende Beschreibung und phylogenetische Analyse des Schädels rechtfertigen die Benennung eines neuen Taxons, Yuraramirim montealtensis. Dieses Taxon gehört zu einer Gruppe (Peiropemydidae), die bisher nur aus der Marília-Formation des Bauru-Beckens und des frühen Paläozäns von Bolivien bekannt war. Zudem werden der digitale Steinkern sowie das Innenohr des neuen Taxons beschrieben, was bisher für keine fossile pleurodire Schildkröte getan worden war.

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Acknowledgements

We thank A. C. Arruda-Campos (in memoriam) for providing the material for study, L. E. Sabino (from the FOAr-UNESP), for the micro-CT scanning, T. S. Fachini for sharing information about the fossil vertebrate record of the Monte Alto region, and the crew involved in field activities, in particular C. A. Francisco, D. Silva, and T. S. Fachini. We also acknowledge the reviewers, W.G. Joyce and I. Danilov, and editor-in-chief of PalZ, Mike Reich, for insightful comments that very much improved the manuscript, and E. Cadena and P. S. R. Romano for useful suggestions on an earlier version of it. This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) scholarships to GSF (grant numbers 2014/25379-5 and 2016/03934-2) and GH (grant numbers 2016/03373-0 and 2016/17116-0), and research funding to MCL (2014/03825-3). We acknowledge S. Evers for translating the abstract and keywords to German.

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Correspondence to Gabriel S. Ferreira.

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Handling editor: Walter Joyce.

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Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material. The data matrix (NEXUS format) and the 3d models are provided at https://doi.org/10.18563/m3.3.2.e2 

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Ferreira, G.S., Iori, F.V., Hermanson, G. et al. New turtle remains from the Late Cretaceous of Monte Alto-SP, Brazil, including cranial osteology, neuroanatomy and phylogenetic position of a new taxon. PalZ 92, 481–498 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-017-0397-x

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Keywords

  • Podocnemidoidae
  • Pleurodira
  • Inner ear
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Carotid circulation
  • Late Cretaceous
  • Adamantina Formation
  • Brazil

Schlüsselwörter

  • Podocnemidoidae
  • Pleurodira
  • Innenohr
  • Neuroanatomie
  • Karotiden
  • Adamantina-Formation
  • Oberkreide
  • Basilien