Material and methods
Part of the material dealt with here is preserved in alcohol and part is preserved as dry material: skeletons (complete or partial [mostly skulls]), skins and stuffed material. Van Lidth de Jeude (1898) reported on part of the dry material (skeletons, skulls and skeletonised specimens of turtles and tortoises with the horny scales still attached to the carapace) present at that time. Stuffed material or skins was not included. This publication in the RMNH is popularly known as the ‘Catalogue Ostéologique’ and material mentioned in it has labels with the indication ‘Cat. ost.’ followed by a letter corresponding with the letters mentioned in van Lidth de Jeude (1898). Part of this material in the meantime has been relabelled and now has serial RMNH numbers. The Cat. ost. letters are mentioned after the present serial number. However, the old Cat. ost. indication in all specimens remains in place, although it is superseded by the serial number for easier access and incorporation into the electronic database.
The original name and publication on which a nominal taxon is based have been indicated by an asterisk preceding the name. References in synonymy lists only concern publications which specifically mention RMNH type material. Thus, no reference is made to the most recent checklist of Fritz & Havaš (2007) under each species, but for present day Chelonian nomenclature we did follow this publication, with the exception of one name (Dipsochelys dussumieri) due to new data that were not taken into account in this publication, although the basic publications concerning the nomenclature of this species were referred to. For crocodile nomenclature we followed King & Burke (1989) and Ross (1990, 1992).
Current names for taxa are indicated in bold letters, either in the caption of each account, when the name did not change, or in a special section ‘Current name’.
Collection acronyms are based on Frost (2009). The former Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie has gone through several name-changes and at the moment is officially registered as Foundation Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, but the acronym RMNH (which refers to recent material and is recognized internationally) has been maintained in order to avoid confusion. In order to adhere to international standards, the herpetological collection numbers are now indicated as RMNH.RENA. The notation ‘alc.’ means preserved in ethanol 70%, ‘RMNH. Dub.’ refers to the RMNH Dubois collection of fossils. Names of fossil species are preceded by a †.
As usual in many old collections, type specimens often were not indicated as such, and only starting in the 1930s the curators of the RMNH herpetological collection (L.D. Brongersma (1932-1958), M. Boeseman (temporarily supervising the herpetological collection between 1958 and 1966) and M.S. Hoogmoed (1966-2004) [the years mentioned by Gassó et al., 2007 are not correct]) made it a habit of clearly marking type material with red dots on bottles and pedestals, and noting these findings in the card-index and in the hand written register books, whenever they found indications material had been used for descriptions of new taxa. For chelonians and crocodiles we are convinced that all type material now has been identified, and that the present list is complete.