Study of the first turtle fossil of the genus Peltocephalus from South America; evolutionary, paleobiogeographic and conservation implications.

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Much of the current biodiversity of turtles in northern South America is highly threatened, one of these turtles is Peltocephalus dumerilianus or big-headed turtle, the only surviving species within its genus, which is believed to have inhabited South America for about 86 million years.

However, the evolutionary history, fossil record and past distribution of this group of turtles is totally unknown.

For the first time we have discovered a fossil belonging to this genus of turtle, represented in a partially preserved skull, its shell and some other postcranial elements, discovered in Miocene rocks from the northern region of the Tatacoa desert, La Victoria, department of Huila. , Colombia.

This project focuses on the study of this fossil at a macro, micro and molecular level, in order to establish its phylogenetic and paleobiogeographic relevance; as well as its relevance in the preservation of the heritage of the Tatacoa desert, and the strengthening of conservation plans for the current species; based on knowledge of its evolutionary history.

Results of this project will be presented in scientific publications, conferences and dissemination material to the general public.
Effective start/end date11/6/1911/6/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Main Funding Source

  • National


  • South America


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