Turtle remains from the late Miocene of the Cessaniti area, southern Italy—insights for a probable Tortonian chelonian dispersal from Europe to Africa

Georgios L Georgalis, Gianni Insacco, Lorenzo Rook, Filippo Spadola, Massimo Delfino
2020
We here describe turtle remains from the late Miocene (Tortonian) of Cessaniti (Calabria, southern Italy), an area that recently has been palaeogeographically reconstructed as being, at that time of the Neogene, directly connected (or at least rather proximate) to northern Africa, instead of Europe. The material pertains to three different turtle clades, i.e., pan-trionychids, pan-cheloniids, and pangeoemydids. Although the material is incomplete, it nevertheless permits a more precise
more » ... ation for the pan-trionychid specimens, which are referred to the species Trionyx pliocenicus, as well as the pan-geoemydid, which is attributed to the genus Mauremys. Especially for the case of T. pliocenicus, the new Cessaniti specimens expand its geographic and stratigraphic distribution and further comprise the sole existing material known for this species, considering that its holotype and so far only known material is currently lost. Overall, besides its taxonomic significance, the Cessaniti chelonian assemblage affords the potential for important biogeographic implications, attesting that the lineages of Trionyx and Mauremys could have potentially used the Sicily-Calabria arch for their dispersal from Europe to Africa during the Tortonian. The new turtle specimens further complement the associated mammal remains in envisaging the Cessaniti assemblage as a mosaic of both African and Eurasian (Pikermian) faunal elements. Abstract We here describe turtle remains from the late Miocene (Tortonian) of Cessaniti (Calabria, southern Italy), an area that recently has been palaeogeographically reconstructed as being, at that time of the Neogene, directly connected (or at least rather proximate) to northern Africa, instead of Europe. The material pertains to three different turtle clades, i.e., pan-trionychids, pan-cheloniids, and pan-geoemydids. Although the material is incomplete, it nevertheless permits a more precise identification for the pan-trionychid specimens, which are referred to the species Trionyx pliocenicus, as well as the pan-geoemydid, which is attributed to the genus Mauremys. Especially for the case of T. pliocenicus, the new Cessaniti specimens expand its geographic and stratigraphic distribution and further comprise the sole existing material known for this species, considering that its holotype and so far only known material is currently lost. Overall, besides its taxonomic significance, the Cessaniti chelonian assemblage affords the potential for important biogeographic implications, attesting that the lineages of Trionyx and Mauremys could have potentially used the Sicily-Calabria arch for their dispersal from Europe to Africa during the Tortonian. The new turtle specimens further complement the associated mammal remains in envisaging the Cessaniti assemblage as a mosaic of both African and Eurasian (Pikermian) faunal elements.
doi:10.5167/uzh-191265 fatcat:iuwhnrgvkrfu3is5pz57yz2ufy