Rare hatchling specimens of Araripemys Price, 1973 (Testudines, Pelomedusoides, Araripemydidae) from the Crato Formation, Araripe Basin

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Journal of South American Earth Sciences, ISSN: 0895-9811, Vol: 79, Page: 137-142

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Gustavo R. Oliveira; Alexander W.A. Kellner
Elsevier BV
Earth and Planetary Sciences
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article description
Hatchling turtles are rare in the fossil record. Here we report two incomplete juvenile specimens of the genus Araripemys from the Aptian (ca. 115 Ma) Crato Formation (Araripe Basin, Brazil). Although the description of this material does not completely elucidate the ontogeny of this taxon, the analysis of these specimens yield relevant information about diagnostic features of the genus, showing their presence in hatchling such as: skull with nearly oval shape in dorsal view; closely spaced orbits; cervical vertebrae with long vertebral body indicating the presence of a long neck; the extension and the angle of curvature of the axillary (obtuse angle); and unguals arrow-shaped. The small size of the specimens (40–50 mm) and their poor degree of ossification including unfused costal bones indicate that both represent hatchling individuals. The paleoenvironment of the Crato Formation was similar to mangroves, which is corroborated by the presence of juvenile turtles and fishes, anurans and insects. Araripemys barretoi was also recorded in the Romualdo Formation, which represents a lagoon. The fact that this turtle is found in these quite distinct paleoenvironments suggests that this species could be tolerant to distinct salinities levels.