Temporal range: Miocene to present
Indian Star Tortoise.jpg
G. elegans
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Geochelone
Fitzinger, 1835

G. elegans
G. platynota

Geochelone is a genus of tortoises.

Geochelone tortoises, which are also known as typical tortoises or terrestrial turtles, can be found in southern Asia. They primarily eat plants.


The genus consists of two extant species:

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Indian star tortoise - Houston Zoo.jpg
Indian star tortoise Geochelone elegans India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Geochelone platynota by OpenCage.jpg
Burmese star tortoise Geochelone platynota Myanmar

A number of tortoise species have been recently removed from the genus. This taxon as formerly defined was "polyphyletic, representing at least five independent clades".[1] Tortoises removed include members of Aldabrachelys (from the Seychelles and Madagascar), Astrochelys[2] (Madagascar), Chelonoidis (South America and the Galápagos Islands), Stigmochelys[2] and Centrochelys (Africa), and the extinct Megalochelys (southern Asia). These species are also unique for their ability to remember patterns and spatial pathways. Similar to mammals, these tortoises can remember directions and pathways by remembering the correct pathways in their long-term memory.[3]


"Self-righting" shell

The form of the shell of the Indian star tortoise resembles a gömböc, allowing it to turn over when lying upside down very easily.


  1. ^ Le, M.; Raxworthy, C. J.; McCord, W. P.; Mertz, L. (2006-05-05). "A molecular phylogeny of tortoises (Testudines: Testudinidae) based on mitochondrial and nuclear genes" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 40 (2): 517–531. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.03.003. PMID 16678445. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-16.
  2. ^ a b Fritz, U.; Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P. (2007-07-03). "When genes meet nomenclature: Tortoise phylogeny and the shifting generic concepts of Testudo and Geochelone". Zoology. Elsevier. 110 (4): 298–307. doi:10.1016/j.zool.2007.02.003. PMID 17611092.
  3. ^ Wilkinson, A., Chan, H. M., & Hall, G. (2007). Spatial learning and memory in the tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121(4), 412.
  4. ^ "The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database cubit: The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database Extinct Reptiles: Geochelone burchardi". Archived from the original on 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  5. ^ "The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database cubit: The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database Extinct Reptiles: Geochelone vulcanica". Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-17.