Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Biology

Date of Award

5-2013

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jim I. Mead

Committee Members

Blaine W. Schubert, Steven C. Wallace

Abstract

Trachemys (Testudines: Emydidae) represents one of the most well-known turtles today. The evolution of Trachemys, while being heavily documented with various fossil representatives, is not well understood. Numerous fossils from the Gray Fossil Site in northeastern Tennessee are helping to elucidate the taxon’s evolution. The fossil Trachemys at the Gray Fossil Site represent a new species. A review of previously named Trachemys taxa reveals that a huge majority of them are not valid or have been previously misinterpreted. A phylogenetic analysis preformed on modern emydids and supposed fossil representatives of those genera also shows the evolution of a portion of the modern turtle fauna. While some fossils are nested within modern clades, a large number of the fossil turtles studied fall within their own clade. This may mean that these fossils represent an extinct lineage and less fossil representatives of modern turtles are known than previously thought.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Biology Commons

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