Fossil Friday 4/24/15: A kinosternid turtle

vp_uf242076vent

UF 242076, a peripheral element of the plastron of Staurotypus moschus. (Photo © VP FLMNH)

This Fossil Friday we have a peripheral element of the plastron (ventral surface of the shell) of a kinosternid turtle called Staurotypus moschus. This fossil, which is early Miocene in age, was collected by Michael Kirby under the Centenario Bridge from sediments of the Cucaracha Formation. The specific name for Staurotypus moschus was chosen due to the turtle’s relatively deep anterior musk duct groove. In life, the musk duct groove would have held a gland that contained foul-smelling musk that the animal release when disturbed.

To read more about this specimen, read the publication on it here.

Staurotypus_salvinii

A photo of a modern Staurotypus salvinii, the Chiapas Giant Musk Turtle. The publication describing S. moschus claims that the fossil turtle has its closest affinities with S. salvinii. (Photo © L. A. Dawson)

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