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A revision of the pelomedusoid turtle Jainemys pisdurensis from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Lameta Formation of India

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  • PeerJ. - 2020, vol. 8, p. e9330
English Background: Jainemys pisdurensis comb. nov. is an extinct pleurodiran turtle from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of India, previously referred to Carteremys and Shweboemys. The holotype, an eroded skull, had been collected near the village of Pisdura, south of Nagpur, in Maharashtra State, while all referred shell material originates from coeval sediments exposed at the nearby village of Dongargaon. Initial estimates believed this turtle to either be an early representative of Podocnemididae or a basal representative of Pelomedusoides.Methods: We here figure and describe all specimens that had previously been referred to Jainemys pisdurensis comb. nov. We furthermore re-evaluate the validity of this fossil turtle and explore its phylogenetic relationships within Pleurodira.Results: The holotype of Jainemys pisdurensis comb. nov. displays a morphology that differs substantially from that originally reported. Most notably, the palatines only have a minor contribution to the broad triturating surfaces but have a broad midline contact with each other, the pterygoids only have a midline contact of intermediate length and do not contact the opisthotics posteriorly, the basisphenoid is broad and short, and the opisthotics do not contribute to the flooring of the cavum acustico-jugulare. The referred shell material also displays a morphology different from that reported originally, in particular in that vertebral I does not contribute to the anterior margin of the carapace while the nuchal does. Phylogenetic analysis places the cranial material within the bothremydid clade Kurmademydini, while the shell material is placed in an unresolved polytomy at the base of this clade. Jainemys pisdurensis is confirmed to be a valid species of pleurodiran turtle, but the high diversity of coeval kurmademydines in India demands removal of the postcranial remains from this taxon. The realization that all valid species of Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) turtles from India form a clade supports the hypothesis that India was physically separated from the rest of Gondwana at this time.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
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