Just out | A new slider turtle (Testudines: Emydidae: Deirochelyinae: Trachemys) from the late Hemphillian (late Miocene/early Pliocene) of eastern Tennessee and the evolution of the deirochelyines @ PeerJ

Just out @ PeerJ

A new slider turtle (Testudines: Emydidae: Deirochelyinae: Trachemys) from the late Hemphillian (late Miocene/early Pliocene) of eastern Tennessee and the evolution of the deirochelyines


Steven E. Jasinski


Trachemys (Testudines: Emydidae) represents one of the most well-known turtle genera today. The evolution of Trachemys, while being heavily documented with fossil representatives, is not well understood. Numerous fossils from the late Hemphillian Gray Fossil Site (GFS) in northeastern Tennessee help to elucidate its evolution. The fossil Trachemys at the GFS represent a new species. The new taxon, Trachemys haugrudi, is described, and currently represents the most thoroughly described fossil emydid species known. A phylogenetic analysis, including 31 species, focusing on the subfamily Deirochelyinae is performed that includes the new fossil species, along with numerous other modern and fossil deirochelyine species, representing the first phylogenetic analysis published that includes several fossil deirochelyines. The phylogenetic analysis, utilizing morphological evidence, provides monophyletic clades of all modern deirochelyines, including ChrysemysDeirochelysPseudemysMalaclemysGraptemys, and Trachemys. A strict consensus tree finds the recently described fossil species Graptemys kerneri to be part of a clade of Graptemys + Malaclemys. Three fossil taxa, including one previously referred to Pseudemys(Pseudemys caelata) and two to Deirochelys (Deirochelys carri and Deirochelys floridana) are found to form a clade with modern Deirochelys reticularia reticularia, with D. floridana sister to the other members of the clade. Chrysemys is found to be part of a basal polytomy with Deirochelys in relation to other deirochelyine taxa. Two fossil taxa previously referred to Chrysemys (Chrysemys timida and Chrysemys williamsi) form a paraphyly with the modern Chrysemys picta picta and Deirochelys, and may be referable to distinct genera. Additionally, fossil taxa previously attributed to Trachemys (Trachemys hilliiTrachemys idahoensisTrachemys inflata, and Trachemys platymarginata) and T. haugrudi are found to form a clade separate from clades of northern and southern Trachemys species, potentially suggesting a distinct lineage of Trachemys with no modern survivors. Hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships mostly agree between the present study and previous ones, although the inclusion of fossil taxa provides further clues to the evolution of parts of the Deirochelyinae. The inclusion of more fossil taxa and characters may help resolve the placement of some taxa, and further elucidate the evolution of these New World turtles.

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Keywords: TrachemysFossil turtleEmydidaeTennesseeNew speciesGray Fossil SiteDeirochelyinaeTaxonomyHemphillianPhylogeny

DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4338

READ IT HERE: https://peerj.com/articles/4338/

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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)

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