Temporal range: Paleocene, 61.7–55.8 Ma[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Bothremydidae
Tribe: Taphrosphyini
Subtribe: Taphrosphyina
Genus: Azabbaremys
Gaffney, Moody & Walker, 2001[2]
A. moragjonesi
Binomial name
Azabbaremys moragjonesi
Gaffney, Moody & Walker, 2001[2]

Azabbaremys is an extinct genus of bothremydid pleurodiran turtle that was discovered in the Teberemt Formation of Mali. It was described in 2001, based on a skull that had been recovered in an expedition in 1981.[1][2] The genus consists solely of the type species Azabbaremys moragjonesi.[1][3] The genus name is derived from Azabbar, a monster in Tamasheq folk stories. The species is named for Morag Jones, a research student who participated in the discovery of the specimen and died in the expedition.[1] Azabbaremys is most closely related to another Paleocene side-necked turtle, Acleistochelys.[4]


The holotype of Azabbaremys is a nearly complete skull, completely lacking the lower jaw. The skull has a median length of 145.5 mm from the premaxilla to condyle and a maximum width of 164.3 mm. The skull measures 67.1 mm in height from the condyle to the top of the skull roof. The triturating surface, the cutting or grinding surface of the jaws, is rugose, having been formed by a series of rough corrugations shaped like small teeth, unlike the smooth triturating surfaces seen in other bothremydids such as Nigeremys and Taphorsphys.[2]


Azabbaremys was discovered in the Teberemt Formation of Mali, which represents a shallow marine deposition within the Trans-Saharan Seaway. Sea levels were higher during the Paleogene than they are today, and an inland sea had been fluctuating in coverage over the Sahara since the Late Cretaceous, at times submerging an estimated 2500–3000 km2 of northwest Africa beneath 50 meters of water.[5] The Trans-Saharan Seaway may have served as a dispersal route for marine fauna between the Tethys Sea and South Atlantic Ocean.[2] Many fossils of fishes and crocodyliforms are known from the Teberemt Formation, as are invertebrates including nautiloids (Cimomia reymenti), echinoids (Linthia sudanensis), and oysters (Ostrea multicostata).[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "†Azabbaremys Gaffney et al. 2001". Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gaffney, Eugene S.; Moody, Richard & Walker, Cyril Alexander (2001). "Azabbaremys, a new side-necked turtle (Pelomedusoides, Bothremydidae) from the Paleocene of Mali". American Museum Novitates (3320): 1–16. hdl:2246/2937.
  3. ^ "Azabbaremys - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  4. ^ Gaffney, Eugene S.; Roberts, Eric; Sissoko, Famory; Bouaré, Mohamed L.; Tapanila, Leif; O'leary, Maureen A. (2007). "Acleistochelys, a New Side-Necked Turtle (Pelomedusoides: Bothremydidae) from the Paleocene of Mali". American Museum Novitates. 3549 (1): 1. doi:10.1206/0003-0082(2007)3549[1:aanstp];2. ISSN 0003-0082.
  5. ^ a b "Stratigraphy and Paleobiology of the Upper Cretaceous-Lower Paleogene Sediments from the Trans-Saharan Seaway in Mali". MorphoBank datasets. 2019-07-01.