Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. a taxonomic family, within superfamily Testudinoidea - the tortoises

Etymologies

Latin testudo, tortoise (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Some Americans use ‘tortoise’ in a strict taxonomic sense to refer to the Testudinidae, which is the scientific name for modern land tortoises.

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  • We are already pretty confident of the remarkable fact that the turtles accomplished an evolutionary doubling back to the land: an early marque of land ‘tortoises’ went back to the watery environment of their even earlier fish ancestors, became sea turtles, then returned to the land yet again, as a new incarnation of land tortoises, the Testudinidae.

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  • Sterrer W (2000) Hesperotestudo (Testudines: Testudinidae) from the Pleistocene of Bermuda, with comments on the phylogenetic position of the genus.

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  • In Britain, we’d be inclined to call any land-dwelling chelonian a tortoise, whether it is a member of the Testudinidae or not as we shall see, there are fossil ‘tortoises’ that lived on land but are not members of the Testudinidae.

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  • If you look at the family tree, you’ll notice that, in addition to the Testudinidae all modern land tortoises there are two fossil genera of fully shelled animals called Proganochelys* and Palaeochersis.

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  • Land tortoises are represented by bold type, and you can see that today’s land tortoises constitute a single branch, the Testudinidae, deeply nested within rich branchings of otherwise aquatic chelonians.

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