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The early Cretaceous Santana Formation exposed on the Chapada do Araripe in Ceará State, northeastern Brazil, has yielded remains of a side-necked turtle, Cearachelys placidoi, new genus and species. Cearachelys is based on two skeletons, each consisting of articulated shell, associated skull, and postcrania in varying degrees of completeness. Cearachelys is a pelomedusoid pleurodire belonging to the family Bothremydidae Baur, 1891, based on these bothremydid characters: (1) precolumellar fossa absent, (2) occipital condyle consisting only of exoccipitals, (3) foramen stapedio-temporale anteriorly facing, and (4) exoccipital contacts quadrate. Within the Bothremydidae, Cearachelys is best resolved as the sister group of Bothremys, Rosasia, Foxemys, Zolhafah, and Polysternon. Cearachelys differs from the other two pleurodires in the Santana Formation in the bothremydid characters listed above and in having a quadrate-basioccipital contact, a prootic completely covered in ventral view, and a high lingual ridge on the lower jaw.
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