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1 June 2008 The First In Situ Turtle Clutch From the Cretaceous Tiantai Basin, Zhejiang Province, China
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The first in situ turtle egg clutch reported from China comes from the Lower Cretaceous (Albian) Liangtoutang Formation in the Tiantai Basin, Zhejiang Province. This clutch originally contained a minimum of 27 eggs, but four eggs separated from the clutch during excavation. The spherical eggs vary from 34 to 52 mm in diameter. The eggshell is 0.7–1.0 mm thick and has straight, narrow shell units with parallel margins and a height-to-width ratio of 2.5–3:1. Two eggs from this clutch previously were used to establish the new oogenus and oospecies Tiantaioolithus jiangi Fang et al., 2003, within the oofamily Testudoolithidae Fang et al., 2003. Based on our examination of all available eggs from this clutch, we propose the following: (1) Testudoolithidae Fang et al., 2003, is a junior homonym for Testudoolithidae Hirsch, 1996; (2) Tiantaioolithus Fang et al., 2003, is a junior subjective synonym of Testudoolithus Hirsch, 1996; and (3) the eggs pertain to a distinct oospecies, namely Testudoolithus jiangi (new combination). A previously unreported, isolated egg from the Upper Cretaceous (stage unknown) Chichengshan Formation in the Tiantai Basin is also referred to Testudoolithus jiangi based on its similar size, shell thickness, and shell unit height-to-width ratio; this specimen thus extends the fossil record of this oospecies into the Late Cretaceous. Taphonomic assessment of the egg block suggests that the egg clutch was buried in the substrate in a manner similar to modern turtles. The large, spherical eggs and large number of eggs in the clutch indicate the eggs were laid by a turtle taxon of large body size. The thick eggshell and sparse pores penetrating the shell indicate adaptation for a relatively arid, terrestrial environment.

Frankie D. Jackson, Xingsheng Jin, David J. Varricchio, Yoichi Azuma, and Yangen Jiang "The First In Situ Turtle Clutch From the Cretaceous Tiantai Basin, Zhejiang Province, China," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28(2), 319-325, (1 June 2008).[319:TFISTC]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 25 November 2007; Published: 1 June 2008

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