Paleobiologists from the College of Zurich have found fossils of essentially the most big turtles that ever lived. Referred to as Stupendemys geographicus, the turtle measured between 2.four to virtually three meters- the biggest ever recognized.
Scientists found the fossil of extinct turtle in Colombia’s Tatacoa Desert and Venezuela’s Urumaco area. The turtle had an estimated physique mass of 1,145 kg—virtually 100 occasions that of its closest residing relative, the big-headed Amazon river turtle.
Marcelo Sánchez, director of the Paleontological Institute and Museum of UZH and head of the examine, said, “In some people, the entire carapace confirmed a peculiar and surprising function: horns. The 2 shell sorts point out that two sexes of Stupendemys existed—males with horned shells and females with hornless shells.”
“That is the primary time that sexual dimorphism within the type of horned shells has been reported for any of the side-necked turtles, one of many two main teams of turtles worldwide.”
“Regardless of its super dimension, the turtle had pure enemies. In lots of areas, the prevalence of Stupendemys coincides with Purussaurus, the biggest caimans. This was almost definitely a predator of the enormous turtle, given not solely its dimension and dietary preferences but additionally as inferred by chunk marks and punctured bones in fossil carapaces of Stupendemys.”
Scientists additionally found jaws and different skeleton elements of Stupendemys. Thus, they had been in a position to completely revise the evolutionary relationships of this species inside the turtle tree of life.
Sánchez stated, “Primarily based on research of the turtle anatomy, we now know that some residing turtles from the Amazon area are the closest residing family. Moreover, the discoveries and the investigation of present fossils from Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela point out a a lot wider geographic distribution of Stupendemys than beforehand assumed.”
The study is printed within the journal Science Advances.