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Tanzanonautes tuerkayi
Temporal range: Oligocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Potamonautidae
Genus: Tanzanonautes
Feldmann et al., 2007
Species: T. tuerkai
Binomial name
Tanzanonautes tuerkayi
Feldmann et al., 2007

Tanzanonautes tuerkayi is a species of fossil freshwater crab from Tanzania, the only species in the genus Tanzanonautes.[1] It is the oldest known freshwater crab, and probably dates from the Oligocene;[1][2] the next oldest specimens are from the Miocene.[1] A number of fragmentary remains were discovered in the Songwe Valley part of the East African Rift in Mbeya Region, Tanzania (approximately 8°56′S 33°12′E / 8.933°S 33.200°E / -8.933; 33.200), in fragile sandstone sediments.[1] The animal had a carapace around 50 millimetres (2.0 in) across the widest part, which is around 15 mm (0.6 in) from the front of the carapace; the carapace is 44 mm (1.7 in) from front to back, and the slightly inward-curving rear edge of the carapace is 28 mm (1.1 in) across.[1] The genus name refers to Tanzania, the country where the fossil was found, while the specific epithet commemorates Michael Türkay, an authority on freshwater crabs.[1] The genus Tanzanonautes is assigned to the family Potamonautidae, although the characters mentioned in the family's diagnosis are missing from the fragmentary fossils available.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rodney M. Feldmann, Patrick M. O'Connor, Nancy J. Stevens, Michael D. Gottfried, Eric M. Roberts, Sifa Ngasala, Erin L. Rasmusson & Saidi Kapilima (2007). "A new freshwater crab (Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamonautidae) from the Paleogene of Tanzania, Africa" (PDF). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen. 244 (1): 71–78. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2007/0244-0071. 
  2. ^ Sebastian Klaus, Darren C. J. Yeo & Shane T. Ahyong (2011). "Freshwater crab origins – laying Gondwana to rest". Zoologischer Anzeiger. 250 (4): 449–456. doi:10.1016/j.jcz.2011.07.001.