A New Species of Bairdemys (Pelomedusoides: Podocnemididae) from the Oligocene (Early Chattian) Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina, USA, and Its Paleobiogeographic Implications for the Genus

  • Robert E. WeemsEmail author
  • James L. Knight
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)


A new species of podocnemidid pleurodire turtle, Bairdemys healeyorum, is described from the upper Oligocene Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina, USA, on the basis of a nearly complete shell found with associated skull fragments, lower jaw, girdle elements, and limb elements. This is the first record of an Oligocene pleurodire turtle from North America. The shell and lower jaw are unique in detail but similar in overall morphology to equivalent parts of Bairdemys venezuelensis and B. sanchezi. The plastron of this new species also shares many features with the previously described Maryland Miocene species of podocnemidid, “Taphrosphysmiocenica, so the Miocene taxon is here referred to Bairdemys. In the Oligocene and Miocene, North and South America were separated by broad expanses of salt water, so Bairdemys probably was salt-water tolerant and reached North America by “island hopping” from South America across the Caribbean Sea.


Calvert Formation  Pungo River Formation  Shell Skull Venezuela 



Special thanks go to Craig and Alice Healey of West Columbia, South Carolina, who for so many years conscientiously collected for, donated to, and volunteered at the South Carolina State Museum. The description of this fossil turtle is but small payment for their many contributions. Vance McCollum and Curtis Bentley also are acknowledged for their many assistances at the Crowfield site. The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of Eugene S. Gaffney (American Museum of Natural History) in determining the taxonomic placement of this turtle and Albert E. Sanders (Charleston Museum) for his discussions on the stratigraphic setting of the Chandler Bridge Formation and for making the Charleston Museum specimen of Bairdemys healeyorum available for study. We also thank France de Lapparent de Broin, Eugene S. Gaffney, and Takuya Konishi for thorough and very helpful reviews of the manuscript of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paleo QuestGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.South Carolina State MuseumColumbiaUSA

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