Temporal range: Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous 145–143 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Pleurosternidae
Genus: Dorsetochelys
Evans and Kemp, 1976

D. delairi Evans and Kemp, 1976 (type)
D. typocardium (Seeley, 1869)
D. bueckebergensis (Karl, Groning, Brauckmann, and Reich, 2012)


Pleurosternon typocardium Seeley, 1869
Thalassemys ruetimeyeri Lydekker, 1889
Ballerstedtia Karl, Groning, Brauckmann, and Reich, 2012

Dorsetochelys is an extinct genus of turtle from the Early Cretaceous of southern England and northwestern Germany.


The type species, Dorsetochelys delairi, was described on the basis of DORCM G.23, a complete skull from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) Purbeck Group of Dorset, England.[1] Later, a turtle skull from the vicinity of Como Bluff, Wyoming, was described as a new species, D. buzzops, in honor of Buzz Pitman, a museum director of the Rock River Museum near Como Bluff.[2] However, a cladistic analysis conducted in 2013 recovered that species as a member of Baenidae, sister to Uluops.[3]

In 2012, pleurosternid remains were described from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) Bückeberg Formation of Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany, and this prompted a re-assessment of the problematic species "Pleurosternon" typocardium, which had been tentatively referred to Glyptops by Milner (2004).[4] The new genus Ballerstedtia was coined for "P." typocardium, and the remains from Lower Saxony were named B. bueckergensis.[5] In a paper published in 2014, Ballerstedtia was synonymized with Dorsetochelys.[6]


  1. ^ Evans and Kemp, 1976. A new turtle skull from the Purbeckian of England and a note on the early dichotomies of cryptodire turtles. Palaeontology, 19, 317–324.
  2. ^ R. T. Bakker. 1998. Dinosaur mid-life crisis: the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition in Wyoming and Colorado. Lower and Middle Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 14:67-77
  3. ^ D. W. Larson, N. R. Longrich, D. C. Evans and M. J. Ryan. 2013. A new species of Neurankylus from the Milk River Formation (Cretaceous: Santonian) of Alberta, Canada, and a revision of the type species N. eximius. Morphology and Evolution of Turtles 389-405.
  4. ^ A. R. Milner. 2004. The turtles of the Purbeck Limestone Group of Dorset, southern England. Palaeontology 47(6):1441-1467
  5. ^ H.-V. Karl, E. Groning, C. Brauckmann, and M. Reich. 2012. Ballerstedtia bueckebergensis, a new turtle from the Early Cretaceous Wealden facies of Germany (Testudines: Pleurosternidae). Studia Palaeocheloniologica 4:47-60.
  6. ^ A. Perez-Garcia. 2014. Revision of the poorly known Dorsetochelys typocardium, a relatively abundant pleurosternid turtle (Paracryptodira) in the Early Cretaceous of Europe. Cretaceous Research 49:152-162.