Three Ways to Tackle the Turtle: Integrating Fossils, Comparative Embryology, and Microanatomy

  • Torsten M. ScheyerEmail author
  • Ingmar Werneburg
  • Christian Mitgutsch
  • Massimo Delfino
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)


Herein we review a series of case studies covering the evolution and phylogenesis of turtles, and the ontogenetic development of one of the most peculiar body plans within the Craniota. Comparative analyses of skeletal development, ontogenetic timing, and bone microstructure in both extant and extinct taxa are used to document patterns and make inferences about the origin of turtles, turtle ingroup relationships, and the evolution of turtle ontogenetic development. The need for a balanced sampling of both cryptodiran and pleurodiran turtle species for future comparative studies is highlighted.


Bone histology Comparative anatomy Odontochelys Sequence heterochrony Testudinata Testudines Turtle origins 



We thank Shigeru Kuratani (Kobe), Johannes Müller (Berlin), Uwe Fritz (Dresden), Alan Resetar (Chicago), and Janine M. Ziermann (Jena/Leiden), as well as all of their colleagues, for various help in accessing and studying specimens. Nadia Fröbisch (Chicago), James Gardner (Drumheller), Olivier Rieppel (Chicago), and Matt Vickaryous (Guelph) are thanked for their constructive comments on the manuscript. We also thank all of our collaborators and the SNSF, grant 31003A_127053/1 (to TMS), for supporting this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torsten M. Scheyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ingmar Werneburg
    • 1
  • Christian Mitgutsch
    • 1
  • Massimo Delfino
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
    • 1
  1. 1.Paläntologisches Institut und MuseumUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità di TorinoTurinItaly
  3. 3.Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel CrusafontUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Edifici ICPCerdanyola del Vallès, BarcelonaSpain

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