Scientists find 13-million-year-old turtle fossil the size of a car

Scientists find 13-million-year-old turtle fossil the size of a car

Archeology and paleontology remain fascinating subjects, giving us a fascinating glimpse at the mysterious history of life on this planet. The vast majority of life forms to have walked the earth, flown through the air, or swam in the sea, are now sadly extinct.

But by examining their fossils, recovering their bones, and digging for their remains, we can piece together an idea of what these now-vanished creatures looked like. Now a team of scientists has found a veritable monster, after stumbling upon the fossil of a prehistoric species of a turtle the same size as a car.

Recently, a group of men were filmed riding on an endangered turtle's back:

According to a report by BBC News, the University of Zurich research team found the fossil of a giant sea turtle Stupendemys geographic, measuring between 2.4 to almost 3 meters, making it the largest type of turtle ever known.

The first Stupendemys fossils were discovered in the 1970s but, the latest ones are the largest yet, and were found in Colombia's Tatacoa Desert and Venezuela's Urumaco region.

The researchers also found a three-meter-long shell and a lower jaw bone that suggests that the huge animal subsided mostly on a diet of small animals, vegetation, fruit, and seeds, while its large frame kept it safe from predators.

In a press release, director of the Paleontological Institute and Museum of UZH and head of the study Marcelo Sánchez stated: “In some individuals, the complete carapace showed a peculiar and unexpected feature: horns. The two shell types indicate that two sexes of Stupendemys existed—males with horned shells and females with hornless shells.”

According to a paper from researchers Jean Bocquentin and Janira Melo (of the Brazilian Society of Paleontology), Stupendemys was possibly quite a weak swimmer since its large body mass meant that it was unable to move against swift currents, which may have contributed to its extinction.