Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A fossil Turtle from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota.

One of the first Vertebrate fossils described from the Jehol Biota was Manchurochelys manchoukuoensis, a Eucryptodire Turtle from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, China. The first specimen of this Turtle was discovered in the early 1940s by Japanese palaeontologists working in Manchoukuo (a Japanese puppet-state in northeast China that was not widely recognised by the outside world), but subsequently lost during the Second World War.

In 2010 Chang-Fu Zhou of the Paleontological Institute at Shenyang Normal University described a new specimen of Manchurochelys manchoukuoensis from the Yixian Formation in a paper in the journal Zootaxa.

In a paper published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology on 5 April 2014, Chang-Fu Zhou, along with Márton Rabi of the Institut für Geowissenschaften at the University of Tübingen and the Department of Paleontology at Eötvös Loránd University and Walter Joyce of the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg, describe a third specimen of Manchurochelys manchoukuoensi from the Jiufotang Formation of Qilinshan in Inner Mongolia.

The new specimen comprises the skull, the first six vertebrae, fragments of both scapulae, the proximal end of the right humerus and forepart of the shell, obtained in two blocks that were subsequently glued together during the preparation process at the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning.

New material of Manchurochelys manchoukuoensis in dorsal view, from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Qilinshan, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China. Abbreviations: c1, costal Plate 1; cs, cervical scale; ce1-4, cervical vertebrae 1-4; f, frontal; fst, foramen stapedio-temporale; hy, hyoid; m, maxilla; m1-2, marginal scales 1–2; nu, nuchal; op, opisthotic; p1-2, peripheral Plates 1–2; pa, parietal; pf, prefrontal; pm, premaxilla; po, postorbital; pro, prootic; ps1, pleural scale 1; q, quadrate; so, supraoccipital; sq, squamosal; v1, vertebral scale 1. Zhou et al. (2014).

New material of Manchurochelys manchoukuoensis in ventral view, from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Qilinshan, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China. Abbreviations: bo, basioccipital; bs, basisphenoid; cd, central depression of basisphenoid (maybe taphonomic); ce1-7, cervical vertebrae 1-7; d, dentary; ex, exoccipital; fc, fenestra caroticus; fjp, foramen jugulare posterius; h, humerus; hy, hyoid; lar, labial ridge of the triturating surface in maxilla; lir, lingual ridge of the triturating surface in maxilla; m, maxilla; nu, nuchal; op, opisthotic; p1-2, peripheral Plates 1-2; pal, palatine; pt, pterygoid; q, quadrate; s, scapula; sq, squamosal; st, stapes; XII, foramina of cranial nerve XII. Zhou et al. (2014).

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