The fossil record of turtles and tortoises (Testudines) of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands, with comments on its taxonomy and paleobiogeography: a bibliographic review
Testudines is the crown-group that includes all living forms of turtles and their closest relatives. This group is known from the late Triassic and persists to this day. The fossil record of Testudines in Mexico is scarce and has been previously compiled in several papers. Here we present an update including all osteological and ichnological records from México and Central America. In Mexico, the Testudines fossil record extends from the Late Triassic to the Pleistocene, being widely abundant during the Pleistocene. Kinosternon and Gopherus are the best represented taxa, known from the late Miocene (Hemphillian) to the late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean). Fossil turtles are well represented in Mexico, excluding the states of Campeche, Mexico City, Colima, Guerrero, Queretaro, Quintana Roo and Sinaloa. On the contrary, the ichnological records are only known in Coahuila, Puebla and Zacatecas. In Central America there are records of fossil turtles in El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama, the latter being the country holding most records. Finally, nine new species have been described in the region, six for Mexico (Notoemys tlaxiacoensis, Yelmochelys rosarioae, Mexichelys coahuilaensis, Gopherus donlaloi, G. auffenbergi and G. pargensis, of which G. auffenbergi is synonymous with G. berlandieri and G. pargensis is considered a nomen vanum) and three in Central America (Rhinoclemmys nicoyama from Costa Rica, and Rhinoclemmys panamaensis and Staurotypus moschus from Panama).