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Article: A large testudinid with African affinities in the post‐Messinian (lower Pliocene) record of south‐eastern Spain

Palaeontology - Vol. 63 Part 3 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 63
Part: 3
Publication Date: May 2020
Page(s): 497 512
Author(s): Adán Pérez‐García, Evangelos Vlachos, and Xabier Murelaga
Addition Information

How to Cite

PéREZ‐GARCíA, A., VLACHOS, E., MURELAGA, X. 2020. . Palaeontology, 63, 3, 497-512. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12468

Author Information

  • Adán Pérez‐García - Grupo de Biología Evolutiva Facultad de Ciencias UNED Paseo Senda del Rey 9 28040 Madrid Spain
  • Evangelos Vlachos - CONICET – Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio Av. Fontana 140 9100 Trelew, Chubut Argentina
  • Xabier Murelaga - Departamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU Apartado 644 48080 Bilbao Spain

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 29 April 2020
  • Manuscript Accepted: 25 October 2019
  • Manuscript Received: 02 July 2019

Funded By

Fundación Séneca–Agencia de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Región de Murcia. Grant Number: 11891/PHCS/09
Basque Government. Grant Number: IT‐930‐16
CONICET postdoctoral grant and a PICT‐2016‐B‐2334
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. Grant Number: IJCI‐2016‐30427

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
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Herein, we describe Alatochelon myrteum gen. et sp. nov., a large tortoise from the post‐Messinian (lower Pliocene) of the area of Puerto de la Cadena (Region of Murcia), Spain. The new taxon cannot be attributed to Titanochelon, which represented the only lineage of large tortoises previously recognized in the Neogene record of Europe. Alatochelon myrteum shows African affinities, especially with the extant African spurred tortoise Centrochelys sulcata. Although close phylogenetic relationships have previously been recognized among some tortoises of both continents, the dispersal of this lineage had always been proposed as having occurred in only one direction: from Europe to Africa. The dispersal of the lineage including the new Spanish form and Centrochelys sulcata from Africa to Europe is proposed here. This proposal is compatible with those previously recognized for some lineages of mammals also found in Puerto de la Cadena, identified as African lineages that probably reached Europe during the Messinian Salinity Crisis event. An African origin is also proposed for the lineage of Titanochelon. Therefore, the two lineages of large derived testudinids (i.e. Geochelona) recognized in the European record experienced diachronic dispersal events from Africa to Europe: that to which Alatochelon belongs probably during the Messinian and the other much earlier, at the beginning of the Miocene or before.

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