The first Oligocene sea turtle (Pan-Cheloniidae) record of South America

Edwin Cadena, Juan Abella, Maria Gregori

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Scopus citations


    The evolution and occurrence of fossil sea turtles at the Pacific margin of South America
    is poorly known and restricted to Neogene (Miocene/Pliocene) findings from the
    Pisco Formation, Peru. Here we report and describe the first record of Oligocene
    (late Oligocene, ∼24 Ma) Pan-Cheloniidae sea turtle remains of South America. The
    fossil material corresponds to a single, isolated and well-preserved costal bone found at
    the Montañita/Olón locality, Santa Elena Province, Ecuador. Comparisons with other
    Oligocene and extant representatives allow us to confirm that belongs to a sea turtle
    characterized by: lack of lateral ossification, allowing the dorsal exposure of the distal
    end of ribs; dorsal surface of bone sculptured, changing from dense vermiculation at
    the vertebral scute region to anastomosing pattern of grooves at the most lateral portion
    of the costal. This fossil finding shows the high potential that the Ecuadorian Oligocene
    outcrops have in order to explore the evolution and paleobiogeography distribution of
    sea turtles by the time that the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans were connected via the
    Panama basin.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e4554
    StatePublished - Mar 23 2018


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