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Geochelone denticulata - couple Suriname.jpg
Brazilian giant tortoise
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Chelonoidis
Fitzinger, 1835[1]

Chelonoidis is a genus of turtles in the tortoise family.[1] They are found in South America and the Galápagos Islands. They were formerly assigned to Geochelone, but a recent comparative genetic analysis has indicated that they are actually most closely related to African hingeback tortoises.[2] Their ancestors apparently floated across the Atlantic in the Oligocene.[2] This crossing was made possible by their ability to float with their heads up and to survive up to six months without food or water.[2]

The members of this genus on the Galápagos Islands are among the largest extant terrestrial chelonians. Giant members of the genus were also present in mainland South America during the Pleistocene.[3]


Listed alphabetically.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c Turtle Taxonomy Working Group; Rhodin, A.G.J.; Iverson, J.B.; Bour, R.; Fritz, U.; Georges, A.; Shaffer, H.B.; van Dijk, P.P. (2017). "Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status" (PDF). In Rhodin, A.G.J.; Iverson, J.B.; van Dijk, P.P.; Saumure, R.A.; Buhlmann, K.A.; Pritchard, P.C.H.; Mittermeier, R.A. Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs. 7 (8th ed.). pp. 1–292. doi:10.3854/crm.7.checklist.atlas.v8.2017. ISBN 978-1-5323-5026-9. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Le, M.; Raxworthy, C. J.; McCord, W. P.; Mertz, L. (2006-05-05). "A molecular phylogeny of tortoises (Testudines: Testudinidae) based on mitochondrial and nuclear genes" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 40 (2): 517–531. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.03.003. PMID 16678445.
  3. ^ Cione, A. L.; Tonni, E. P.; Soibelzon, L. (2003). "The Broken Zig-Zag: Late Cenozoic large mammal and tortoise extinction in South America" (PDF). Rev. Mus. Argentino Cienc. Nat., n.s. 5 (1): 1–19. ISSN 1514-5158. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  4. ^ Turtle Extinctions Working Group (Rhodin, A.G.J., Thomson, S., Georgalis, G., Karl, H.-V., Danilov, I.G., Takahashi, A., de la Fuente, M.S., Bourque, J.R., Delfino, M., Bour, R., Iverson, J.B., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P.). 2015. Turtles and tortoises of the world during the rise and global spread of humanity: first checklist and review of extinct Pleistocene and Holocene chelonians. Chelonian Research Monographs. 5(8):000e.1–66.
  5. ^ Kehlmaier, Christian; Barlow, Axel; Hastings, Alexander K.; Vamberger, Melita; Paijmans, Johanna L. A.; Steadman, David W.; Albury, Nancy A.; Franz, Richard; Hofreiter, Michael; Fritz, Uwe (11 January 2017). "Tropical ancient DNA reveals relationships of the extinct Bahamian giant tortoise Chelonoidis alburyorum". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284 (1846): 20162235. doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.2235.
  6. ^ Poulakakis, Nikos; Edwards, Danielle L.; Chiari, Ylenia; Garrick, Ryan C.; Russello, Michael A.; Benavides, Edgar; Watkins-Colwell, Gregory J.; Glaberman, Scott; Tapia, Washington; Gibbs, James P.; Cayot, Linda J.; Caccone, Adalgisa (2015). "Description of a New Galapagos Giant Tortoise Species (Chelonoidis; Testudines: Testudinidae) from Cerro Fatal on Santa Cruz Island". PLOS ONE. 10 (10): e0138779. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0138779. PMC 4619298. PMID 26488886.
  7. ^ Marris, Emma (21 October 2015). "Genetics probe identifies new Galapagos tortoise species". Nature News. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18611.
  8. ^ Van Denburgh, J. (1914). "The gigantic land tortoises of the Galapagos archipelago". Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. Series 4. 2 (1): 203–374. Retrieved 2012-01-11.