hatcheri” (probably Eubaena cephalica or
Dorsal or carapacial view of shell.
Photo: Matt Lamanna,
Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
turtle shell is the holotype, or original specimen, of the
species “Baena hatcheri,” named by Oliver
Hay in 1901. Hay named this specimen after celebrated Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist John Bell Hatcher, who had discovered it earlier
this shell shows no unique anatomical features, the species
“Baena hatcheri” is no longer considered
taxonomically valid. However, recent discoveries have shown
that the shell of “B. hatcheri” probably
belongs to either Eubaena cephalica or
Stygiochelys estesi, turtle species that were originally
named for their distinctive skulls. Because it’s difficult
to tell the shells of Eubaena and Stygiochelys
apart, scientists can’t be sure which of these genera
the “Baena hatcheri” shell belongs to.
We based our reconstruction of this turtle on the skull of
Eubaena and the shell of “B. hatcheri.”
hatcheri” is a member of an extinct turtle group,
the Baenidae, which was very common in Cretaceous ecosystems
of North America. Despite persisting for tens of millions
of years, baenids have so far been found nowhere else in the
world. They appear to have been carnivores or mollusk-eaters
that preferentially lived in rivers and streams. Interestingly,
baenids survived the mass extinction at the end of the Mesozoic
that killed all non-avian dinosaurs, only to disappear a few
million years later during the Eocene Epoch.
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