Evolution and systematics

Although big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) were once considered closely related to pond turtles (family Emydidae), most recent studies suggest that they are the sister group to snapping turtles (Chelydridae). Some authorities even consider big-headed turtles to be a subfamily within the Chelydridae. However, differences in skeletons, chromosomes, and DNA sequences argue for separate family recognition. One genus of fossil turtles from the Cretaceous of Southeast Asia is tentatively assigned to this family. No subfamilies are recognized.

The taxonomy of this species is Platysternon megacephalum Gray, 1831, China. Three subspecies are recognized.

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