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14 March 2011 Terrestrial Turtle Fossils from New Zealand Refloat Moa's Ark
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Abstract

Two fossils from the diverse St Bathans Fauna from Early Miocene sediments in New Zealand are described and identified as from a large, probably terrestrial turtle. They are the first freshwater or terrestrial turtles to have been reported from the Cenozoic of New Zealand. Recent authors have used the absence of turtles and species they considered unlikely to raft to New Zealand to debunk the long held theory that an element of the New Zealand fauna was ancient and vicariant and had evolved on what David Bellamy called Moa's Ark. The discovery that large non-marine turtles were once present in New Zealand adds to a growing and diverse list of terrestrial taxa known from Zealandia shortly after its maximum inundation in the Late Oligocene. Many of these taxa, including a diverse herpetofaunal component, represent lineages endemic to New Zealand and had poor dispersal capabilities, supporting the long held view that a part of the Zealandian fauna was vicariant in origin.

2011 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Trevor H Worthy, Alan J. D Tennyson, Suzanne J Hand, Henk Godthelp, and R. Paul Scofield "Terrestrial Turtle Fossils from New Zealand Refloat Moa's Ark," Copeia 2011(1), 72-76, (14 March 2011). https://doi.org/10.1643/CH-10-113
Received: 21 July 2010; Accepted: 1 November 2010; Published: 14 March 2011
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