Abstract

Testudo antiqua is one of the few fossil turtle names to have survived the past 200 years of taxonomic reshuffling with its original genus and specific epithet intact. The nine currently known specimens were collected from the middle Miocene Hohenhöwen locality in southern Germany. Because the available Hohenhöwen material was never fully described, we here completely document all known specimens. It is unclear which of these specimens formed the original T. antiqua type series, so we herein selected the best preserved representative as the neotype. A phylogenetic analysis places T. antiqua in a basal polytomy within the clade Testudo, indicating that T. antiqua may represent the ancestral morphology of Testudo. As with a number of other published studies, ours was unable to resolve relationships between the three extant Testudo lineages (the hermanni-group, the graeca/kleinmanni/marginata group, and the horsfieldii-group). Finally, with a view toward locating more turtles and in order to better understand the geological and ecological context of these tortoises, we visited Hohenhöwen several times to search for the original collection sites, but we were unable to locate the original fossil quarries described in the literature.

You do not currently have access to this article.