Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Late Cretaceous Turtles

There is very little diagnostic material known for Australian turtles from the Late Cretaceous. In the Winton Formation fragmentary remains, shell parts and limb bones, of a dinner-plate sized turtle, from the Albian-Cenomanian have been found. Based on preliminary assessment it is believed these remains might be from a chelid, the group that incorporates all extant native Australian freshwater turtles. The authors3 suggest that if this is correct it would have significant palaeobiogeographical implications, as chelid are known from the same time period in Patagonia. This would suggest that the chelids had a distribution that stretched across Antarctica from Australia to South America during the Cretaceous.

The only evidence of sea turtles (chelonioids)  from the Late Cretaceous of Australia is an incomplete scapula (shoulder girdle) of a large turtle about 2 m long from the Miria Formation. In the Winton Formation a weathered carapace has been reported that the authors3 say may be a marine turtle has yet to have its identification verified.





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