An Early Cretaceous Sphenophyllum or a hatchling turtle?

Héctor D. Palma-Castro, Diego A. Cómbita-Romero, Edwin Alberto Cadena, Mónica R. Carvalho, Fabiany Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review


Correctly identifying fossil specimens from parautochtonous deposits where marine and terrestrial organisms co-occur can be challenging due to the abundance of rare and obscure specimens with unclear morphologies. In this study, we reviewed fossils from the Lower Cretaceous La Paja Formation (Ricaurte Alto, Villa de Leyva, Colombia) that were originally described as the plant “Sphenophyllum colombianum” based on an apparent resemblance to the upper Paleozoic genus. We determined that the type specimen corresponds to the carapace of a hatchling turtle. In addition, a sec-ond specimen of “S. colombianum” although less well-preserved, also exhibits similar features of a hatchling turtle. The two fossil specimens are significant as they represent the first report of hatchling marine turtles from the Aptian of northwestern South America and provide evidence of the exceptional preservation of the Marine Reptile Lager-stätte of Ricaurte Alto.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera50
JournalPalaeontologia Electronica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 7 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'An Early Cretaceous Sphenophyllum or a hatchling turtle?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this