Common snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina, photographed by M. J. Baker.

Belongs within: Cryptodira.
Contains: Trionychoidae, Emydidae, Testudinoidae, Kinosternidae, Cheloniidae, Dermochelyoidae.

The clade Centrocryptodira unites the crown cryptodiran tortoises with the extinct Meiolaniidae, the horned turtles. The Meiolaniidae are known from South America and Australasia, and survived in the latter region until the Holocene, only becoming extinct within the last 2000 years or so. Among the major lineages of the crown group, the Chelydridae include the snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina and Macroclemys temminckii) of North and South America, and the big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) of southeastern Asia. Members of this family have large heads with strong jaws, and limbs that cannot be fully retracted into the shell (Animal Diversity Web). The Chelonioidea include the living sea turtles, characterised by the modification of the legs into flippers with elongation of the third and fourth digits and flattening of the carpals and tarsals (Animal Diversity Web).

Characters (from Gaffney & Meylan 1988): Formed vertebral articulations; posterior section of canalis caroticus internus with relatively thick floor; plastral buttresses not reaching costal bones.

    |--Meiolaniidae [Meiolanoidea] GM88
    |    |--Niolamia GM88
    |    `--Meiolania Owen 1886 D07
    |         |--M. argentina Smith Woodward 1901 F71
    |         |--M. mackayi Anderson 1925 F71
    |         |--M. oweni Smith Woodward 1888 F71
    |         `--M. platyceps WH02
    `--Polycryptodira [Chelomacryptodira, Procoelocryptodira, Trionychoidea] GM88
         |  i. s.: Emarginachelys GM88
         |         Agomphus GM88
         |--Trionychoidae AS09
         `--+--+--Testudinoidea GM88
            |  |    |--Emydidae GM88
            |  |    `--Testudinoidae AS09
            |  `--Chelydridae [Chelydroidea] GM88
            |       |--Protochelydra GM88
            |       `--Chelydrinae GM88
            |            |--Chelydra serpentina GM88, N10
            |            |    |--C. s. serpentina N10
            |            |    |--C. s. acutirostris N10
            |            |    |--C. s. osceola N10
            |            |    `--C. s. rossignonii N10
            |            `--Platysternini GM88
            |                 |--Macroclemys GM88 [=Macrochelys (l. c.) N10, Macroclemmys (l. c.) N10]
            |                 |    `--M. temminckii N10
            |                 `--Platysternina GM88
            |                      |--Chelydropsis GM88
            |                      `--Platysternon [Platysternidae] AS09
            |                           `--P. megacephalum AS09
            `--+--Kinosternoidae GM88
               |    |--Kinosternia GM88
               |    |    |--Hoplochelys GM88
               |    |    `--Kinosternidae GM88
               |    `--Dermatemydidae GM88
               |         |--Baptemys Leidy 1873 GM88, C77
               |         `--Dermatemys AS09
               |              |--D. costilatus Cope 1875 C77
               |              |--D. mawii AS09
               |              `--D. wyomingensis C77
               `--Chelonioidea GM88
                    |  i. s.: Corsochelys GM88
                    |         Rhinochelys GM88
                    |--Toxochelys [Toxochelyinae] GM88
                    |    `--T. latiremis GM88
                    `--+--Ctenochelys [Lophochelyinae] GM88
                       `--Euchelonioidea GM88
                            |--Cheloniidae AS09
                            `--+--Notochelone costata Owen 1882 GM88, F71
                               |--Allopleuron GM88
                               |--Desmatochelys GM88
                               `--Dermochelyoidae GM88

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AS09] Alfaro, M. E., F. Santini, C. Brock, H. Alamillo, A. Dornburg, D. L. Rabosky, G. Carnevale & L. J. Harmon. 2009. Nine exceptional radiations plus high turnover explain species diversity in jawed vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106 (32): 13410–13414.

[C77] Cope, E. D. 1877. Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties of the expedition of 1874. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian 4 (2): i–iv, 1–370.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1–167.

[GM88] Gaffney, E. S., & P. A. Meylan. 1988. A phylogeny of turtles. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 1. Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds pp. 157–219. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

Last updated: 11 August 2017.

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