Navigation Links
Ancient giant turtle fossil revealed
Date:5/17/2012

Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a kiddie pool. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen the fossilized remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia.

The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means "coal turtle," and is part of a group of side-necked turtles known as pelomedusoides. The fossil was named Carbonemys because it was discovered in 2005 in a coal mine that was part of northern Colombia's Cerrejon formation. The specimen's skull measures 24 centimeters, roughly the size of a regulation NFL football. The shell which was recovered nearby - and is believed to belong to the same species - measures 172 centimeters, or about 5 feet 7 inches, long. That's the same height as Edwin Cadena, the NC State doctoral student who discovered the fossil.

"We had recovered smaller turtle specimens from the site. But after spending about four days working on uncovering the shell, I realized that this particular turtle was the biggest anyone had found in this area for this time period and it gave us the first evidence of giantism in freshwater turtles," Cadena says.

Smaller relatives of Carbonemys existed alongside dinosaurs. But the giant version appeared five million years after the dinosaurs vanished, during a period when giant varieties of many different reptiles including Titanoboa cerrejonensis, the largest snake ever discovered lived in this part of South America. Researchers believe that a combination of changes in the ecosystem, including fewer predators, a larger habitat area, plentiful food supply and climate changes, worked together to allow these giant species to survive. Carbonemys' habitat would have resembled a much warmer modern-day Orinoco or Amazon River delta.

In addition to the turtle's huge size, the fossil also shows that this particular turtle had massive, powerful jaws that would have enabled the omnivore to eat anything nearby from mollusks to smaller turtles or even crocodiles.

Thus far, only one specimen of this size has been recovered. Dr. Dan Ksepka, NC State paleontologist and research associate at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, believes that this is because a turtle of this size would need a large territory in order to obtain enough food to survive. "It's like having one big snapping turtle living in the middle of a lake," says Ksepka, co-author of the paper describing the find. "That turtle survives because it has eaten all of the major competitors for resources. We found many bite-marked shells at this site that show crocodilians preyed on side-necked turtles. None would have bothered an adult Carbonemys, though in fact smaller crocs would have been easy prey for this behemoth."

The paleontologists' findings appear in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Dr. Carlos Jaramillo from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Dr. Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History contributed to the work. The research was funded by grants from the Smithsonian Institute and the National Science Foundation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey Peake
tracey_peake@ncsu.edu
919-515-6142
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA
2. LSU research finds orangutans host ancient jumping genes
3. New coelacanth find rewrites history of the ancient fish
4. Ammonites found mini oases at ancient methane seeps
5. Ancient Egyptian cotton unveils secrets of domesticated crop evolution
6. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
7. Ancient civilizations reveal ways to manage fisheries for sustainability
8. Melting glaciers, enough sand to bury London, and ancient ecosystem engineering
9. UF scientists name new ancient camels from Panama Canal excavation
10. Fossilized pollen unlocks secrets of ancient royal garden
11. Breakthrough model reveals evolution of ancient nervous systems through seashell colors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Ancient giant turtle fossil revealed
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017  higi, the health IT company that operates ... America , today announced a Series B investment ... EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy ... transform population health activities through the collection and workflow ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Throughout this webinar, participants will ... process development and economic goals were achieved in both industry and academic settings. ... system, along with techniques for scaling production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... BOUNTIFUL, Utah (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 ... ... announces the selection and implementation of CLEARAS Water Recovery’s Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery ... a key component of a $24 million plant upgrade to sustainably meet current ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... May 23, 2017 As Ebola resurfaces in the ... deaths and 20 suspected cases now reported, a new analysis ... database, showed a correlation between the 2014 and 2017 outbreaks ... rose sharply in 2012-13, which preceded the 2014 outbreak. An ... Ebola gene Replikin counts in 2014-15, which again precedes the ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Genedata, a ... anniversary, marking the occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World Conference & ... further extends an invitation to all attendees to view posters on the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: