We describe here a new turtle from the early Eocene of Wutu, Shandong Province, China. This turtle with a full row of well-developed inframarginal scutes is assigned to the basalmost testudinoids while stem testudinoids were believed to disappear by the Palaeocene–Eocene boundary. This account shows that stem testudinoids crossed this boundary in their original range. The first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of stem and modern testudinoids performed here demonstrates that the stem testudinoids, previously placed in the family ‘Lindholmemydidae’, do not form a monophyletic group, and the two major clades of testudinoids (Emydidae and Geoemydidae+Testudinidae) split one from another well before the Palaeocene/Eocene boundary, prior to the Late Cretaceous.

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