Georgia Journal of Science


The early Pleistocene (ca. 2.588–1.806 Ma) Santa Fe River 1B fossil site (SF1B) of Gilchrist County, Florida has yielded turtle fossils representing nine genera and at least 10 species. Of these, at least six genera are aquatic turtles (Macrochelys and/or Chelydra, Apalone, Trachemys, Pseudemys, Sternotherus, and Kinosternon) and three are terrestrial (Hesperotestudo, Gopherus, and Terrapene). Hesperotestudo and an undescribed cf. Trachemys are the only extinct turtles identified in the paleoherpetofauna. Overall, the generic composition of the turtle fauna is predominantly modern and indicative of the southeastern United States today.


This work could not have been completed without the loan of modern turtle comparative material from the following collections managers, for which we are very grateful: L. Abraczinskas (Michigan State University Museum); K. Krysko (Florida Museum of Natural History); G. Schneider (Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan). We also thank M. Welker of Ocotillo Herps and Inverts (Texas) for providing important comparative specimens during the course of this study. Illustrations are by GCSU biology students H. Davis and C. Poore. We especially thank J. Bourque (UF) for bringing the possible molluscivorous Trachemys to our attention and greatly improving an earlier draft of this manuscript. We thank R. Franz for sharing his knowledge of fossil Gopherus. Lastly, we thank A. Mead of GCSU for improving an early draft of this manuscript.

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