Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Corsochelys is an extinct genus of sea turtle that lived in the Late Cretaceous (Campanian). Zangerl (1960) named the type species (and currently only species; C. haliniches), based upon remains found in Alabama within the Mooreville Chalk Formation (the lower part of the Selma Group).
Corsochelys is a basal dermochelyid. As with other basal chelonioids (such as Santanachelys and Toxochelys), Corsochelys possesses a large foramen interorbitale with a narrow processus inferior parietalis, which indicates that the genus possessed developed, salt-excreting lachrymal glands. In addition to its similarly to these genera, Corsochelys retains a carapace with minimally reduced coastal plates. Like the larger Archelon, Corsochelys had channels penetrating the subphyseal plate from bone into the cartilage above, much like the living leatherback turtle. This means that Corsochelys would have reached their large size quickly through fast skeletal growth, as with the leatherback.
- Hiryana R. 1997. Distribution and diversity of Cretaceous chelonioids. In: Ancient Marine Reptiles (eds.) Callaway JM, Nicholls EL. Academic Press. pp. 225-241.
- Hiryana R. 1998. Oldest known sea turtle. Nature 392:705-708. Retrieved on June 20th, 2008.
- 2004. Lehman TM, Tomlinson SL. 2004. Terlinguachelys fischbecki, a new genus and species of sea turtle (Chelonioidea: Protostegidae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Texas. Journal of Paleontology 78(6): 1163-1178 Retrieved on June 20th, 2008.
- Snover ML, Rhodin AGL. 2007. Comparative ontogenetic and phylogenetic aspects of chelonian chondro-osseous growth and skeletochronology. In: Wyneken J, Godfrey M, Mels V. (eds.). The biology of turtles. USA: CRC Press pp. 17-43. Retrieved on June 20th, 2008.
- Tong H, Hirayama R. 2004. First Cretaceous dermochelyid turtle from Africa. Revue de Paléobiologie, Genève 9: 55-59. Retrieved on June 20th, 2008.
Suggested further reading
- The Biology of Sea Turtles by Peter L. Lutz and John A. Musick
- Biology of Turtles by Jeanette Wyneken, Matthew H. Godfrey, and Vincent Bels
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