The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database

Elseya lavarackorum (White & Archer, 1994)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Emydura lavarackorum White & Archer, 1994 (original combination)


Conservation Status

Last record: Pleistocene


Described as a fossil species (White & Archer, 1994), it was later considered to have been discovered alive as a living fossil (Thomson et al., 1997). However, newer research indicates that the living population represents a different, undescribed species (Joseph-Ouni et al., 2020).



Northern Territory/Queensland border, Australia


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

White, A. and Archer, M. (1994). Emydura lavarackorum, a new Pleistocene turtle (Pleurodira: Chelidae) from fluviatile deposits at Riversleigh, Northwestern Queensland. Records of the South Australian Museum 27: 159-167.


Other references:

Curtis, Lee K., Dennis, Andrew J., McDonald, Keith R., Kyne, Peter M. and Debus, Stephen J. S. (eds.). Queensland's Threatened Animals. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. xv + 449 pp.

Joseph-Ouni, M., McCord, W.P., Cann, J., Smales, I., Freeman, A., Sadlier, R., Couper, P., White, A. and Amey, A. (2020). The relics of Riversleigh: Re-examination of the fossil record of Elseya (Testudines: Chelidae) with description of a new extant species from the Gulf of Carpentaria drainages, Queensland, Australia. The Batagur Monographs 3: 7-69.

Maguire, Kemii. (10 December, 2020). Turtle gets new name as researchers discover mistaken identity. ABC News (online). 

Thomson, S. A., White, A. and Georges, A. (1997). Re-evaluation of Emydura lavarackorum: identification of a living fossil". Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 42: 327-336.


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