Trionyx messelianus

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Trionyx messelianus
Temporal range: Middle Eocene
Trionychidae - Trionyx messelianus.JPG
Trionyx messelianus from Messel Pit Fossil Site at the Naturmuseum Senckenberg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Trionychidae
Subfamily: Trionychinae
Genus: Trionyx
Species: T. messelianus
Binomial name
Tryonyx messelianus
Reinach 1900

Trionyx messelianus is an extinct species of softshell turtle belonging to the family Trionychidae. These turtles lived in the Middle Eocene. Whether the various specimen found at the Messel Pit Fossil Site can be classified within the genus Trionyx is uncertain. Some authors believe that Trionyx messelianus from Messel should be considered synonym of Rafetoides austriacus (Peters, 1858), see Karl (1998).


Trionyx messelianus is a three-clawed soft-shell turtle that can reach a length of about two feet. It is the largest species of turtles of Messel Pit Fossil Site. The carapace and plastron are not connected by bony prominences and the plastron shows bony plates reduced to small protrusions.