Archaeological investigations carried out in the cave Zubbio di Cozzo San Pietro, Bagheria, Sicily, revealed the presence of a few skeletal elements of a large-sized tortoise in a funerary area dating to the Copper/Bronze Age. The tortoise has been AMS-dated revealing an age of 12.5 +/- 0.5 kyr BP and therefore it pre-dates the funerary activities. The morphology of the retrieved skeletal elements differs from that of the only native tortoise currently living in Sicily, Testudo hermanni. The tortoise's size significantly exceeds the size range of extant Te. hermanni and all Testudo spp., as well as that of their known fossils, and suggests a shell length of 50-60 cm. Repeated efforts to obtain DNA sequences from the tortoise of Zubbio di Cozzo San Pietro failed, but the morphology of the femur is distinct enough to allow us to erect a new taxon, Solitudo sicula gen. et sp. nov., based on a parsimony analysis. It belongs to a hitherto unrecognized clade that includes other large-sized tortoises from Mediterranean islands, like Malta and Menorca. A review of the pertinent taxa indicates that the remains here described represent the geologically youngest large-sized tortoise of the Mediterranean area.

Valenti, P., Vlachos, E., Kehlmaier, C., Fritz, U., Georgalis, G.L., Lujan, A.H., et al. (2022). The last of the large-sized tortoises of the Mediterranean islands. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY [10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac044].

The last of the large-sized tortoises of the Mediterranean islands

Valenti, P
Primo
Conceptualization
;
Sineo, L
Penultimo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2022-05-01

Abstract

Archaeological investigations carried out in the cave Zubbio di Cozzo San Pietro, Bagheria, Sicily, revealed the presence of a few skeletal elements of a large-sized tortoise in a funerary area dating to the Copper/Bronze Age. The tortoise has been AMS-dated revealing an age of 12.5 +/- 0.5 kyr BP and therefore it pre-dates the funerary activities. The morphology of the retrieved skeletal elements differs from that of the only native tortoise currently living in Sicily, Testudo hermanni. The tortoise's size significantly exceeds the size range of extant Te. hermanni and all Testudo spp., as well as that of their known fossils, and suggests a shell length of 50-60 cm. Repeated efforts to obtain DNA sequences from the tortoise of Zubbio di Cozzo San Pietro failed, but the morphology of the femur is distinct enough to allow us to erect a new taxon, Solitudo sicula gen. et sp. nov., based on a parsimony analysis. It belongs to a hitherto unrecognized clade that includes other large-sized tortoises from Mediterranean islands, like Malta and Menorca. A review of the pertinent taxa indicates that the remains here described represent the geologically youngest large-sized tortoise of the Mediterranean area.
Settore BIO/08 - Antropologia
Settore GEO/01 - Paleontologia E Paleoecologia
Valenti, P., Vlachos, E., Kehlmaier, C., Fritz, U., Georgalis, G.L., Lujan, A.H., et al. (2022). The last of the large-sized tortoises of the Mediterranean islands. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY [10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac044].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/568884
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