The amniote temporal roof and the diapsid origin of the turtle skull

G. S. Bever, Tyler R. Lyson, Daniel J. Field, Bhart Anjan S. Bhullar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fossils provide a glimpse into the architecturally complex origins of modern vertebrate body plans. One such origin that has been long debated is that of turtles. Although much attention has been directed toward the origin of the shell, the enigmatic evolution of the turtle skull and its anapsid temporal region has long clouded our understanding of reptile phylogeny. Two taxa, Eunotosaurus africanus and Pappochelys rosinae, were recently and independently described as long-anticipated stem turtles whose diapsid skulls would cement the evolutionary link between turtles and other modern reptile lineages. Detailed μCT analysis of the stratigraphically older and phylogenetically stemward of the two, Eunotosaurus, provides empirical insight into changing developmental trajectories that may have produced the anapsid cranial form of modern turtles and sets the stage for more comprehensive studies of early amniote cranial evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-473
Number of pages3
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Amniote cranial evolution
  • Anapsid skull
  • Cranial anatomy
  • Reptile phylogeny
  • Testudines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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