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Temporal range: Miocene to present
Indian Star Tortoise.jpg
Geochelone elegans
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Geochelone
Fitzinger, 1835

Geochelone elegans
Geochelone platynota

Geochelone is a genus of tortoises.

Geochelone tortoises, which are also known as typical tortoises or terrestrial turtles, can be found in Africa and Asia. They primarily eat plants.

The genus consists of two extant species:

There are two extinct species that inhabited the Canary Islands:

One extinct species inhabited Malta

And an extinct species in the Balearic Islands:

A number of tortoise species have been recently removed from the genus. This taxon as formerly defined was "polyphyletic, representing at least five independent clades".[4] Tortoises removed include members of Aldabrachelys (from the Seychelles and Madagascar), Astrochelys[5] (Madagascar), Chelonoidis (South America and the Galápagos Islands), Stigmochelys[5] (Africa) and earlier and also the only one species of Centrochelys,that is Centrochelys sulcata, the extinct genus Megalochelys (southern Asia).

"Self-righting" shell[edit]

The form of the shell of the Indian star tortoise resembles a gömböc, allowing it to turn over when lying upside down very easily.


  1. ^ The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database Extinct Reptiles: Geochelone burchardi
  2. ^ The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database Extinct Reptiles: Geochelone vulcanica
  3. ^ Rèptils i amfibis de les Balears. Joan Mayol. pàgina 219
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Fritz, U.; Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P. (2007-07-03). "When genes meet nomenclature: Tortoise phylogeny and the shifting generic concepts of Testudo and Geochelone". Zoology. Elsevier. 110 (4): 298–307. doi:10.1016/j.zool.2007.02.003. PMID 17611092.

External links[edit]