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A NEW FOSSIL GOPHER TORTOISE FROM THE HEMINGFORDIAN THOMAS FARM LOCALFAUNA, GILCHRIST COUNTY, FLORIDA, WITH COMMENTS ON ADDITIONAL MATERIALOF HESPEROTESTUDO TEDWHITEI (WILLIAMS) (TESTUDINES: TESTUDINATIDAE)

Jason Bourque, paleontological preparator at the Florida Museum, and Iare collaborating on the description of the new species of gophertortoise and a further evaluation of Hesperotestudo tedwhitei.SUMMARY. E. E. Williams detected the presence of a second tortoisespecies at the Thomas Farm fossil locality, in Gilchrist County,Florida. These specimens were listed as Geochelone sp. in thecollection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at HarvardUniversity, but Williams apparently never mentioned them in theliterature. We discovered additional specimens of this tortoise in theThomas Farm collection at the Florida Bureau of Geology after it wasmoved to the Florida Museum of Natural History collection (UF). Morespecimens of this tortoises and Hesperotestudo tedwhitei have beenaccumulating through the collecting efforts of Florida Museum fieldteams since the late1970s. The second tortoise appears to belong toan undescribed species of gopher tortoise. This determination isbased on nuchal plate morphology and other shell parts. This newspecies has a broad cervical scute, very similar to those found inGopherus laticuneus, from the White River beds in the northern GreatPlains. This is in contrast to the narrow, elongate cervical scutethat is typical of Hesperotestudo tedwhitei (Williams). Unfortunately,the backs of all of the nuchal bones are incomplete and do not offerinformation on whether the vertebral strut scar is present. The sitecontinues to be worked by the museum and undoubtedly more materialswill become available as collecting proceeds. We plan to review thisgopher material, as well as new material of H. tedwhitei.