Science

Fossils Suggest Car-sized Prehistoric South American Turtle Was Built for Battle

Fossils Suggest Car-sized Prehistoric South American Turtle Was Built for Battle”

They say the freshwater beast was the size of a sedan and built for battle.

Stupendemys - meaning "stupendous turtle" - inhabited a colossal wetlands system spanning what is now Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Peru before the Amazon and Orinoco rivers were formed.

"Stupendemys geographicus was huge and heavy".

In addition to the record size, the research team also found another Peculiarity of the extinct turtle species: From the shell of Stupendemys geographicus, two roughly grow to the right and left of the opening from which the turtle sticks its head. centimeters long horns to the front.

Venezuelan palaeontologist Rodolfo Sánchez and a male carapace of the giant turtle. Females did not have those same horns, according to Marcelo Sanchez, a paleobiologist who led the project at the University of Zurich's Paleontological Institute and Museum.

Modern male turtles have also been known to fight with one another, although they lack the shell-mounted weapons of their ancestors.

The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, significantly expand the known range of Stupendemys which walked around northern South America during the late Miocene.

The stupendous turtle was massive by modern standards, but not when compared to some of the enormous crocodile ancestors that occupied the same prehistoric swamps of its era. It shared the environment with giant crocodilians including the 36-foot-long (11-meter-long) caiman Purussaurus and the 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) gavial relative Gryposuchus.

Stupendemys was first discovered in the mid-1970s, but an worldwide team of researchers from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Switzerland, has now reported exceptionally well-preserved specimens of the extinct turtle - in the process - and we now know that this turtle was much more interesting than initially thought. One of the Stupendemys fossils was found with a two-inch-long (5 cm) croc tooth embedded in it.

The first Stupendemys fossils were discovered in 1970 but a lot of mysteries remain unsolved about the animal.

Only one turtle in history was thought to be larger: the Archelon, an ocean-dwelling behemoth that measured 4.6 metres (15 feet) long and lived almost 70 million years ago.

They believe the titan turtle lived at the end of lakes as well as rivers together with huge crocodile consuming a varied diet regimen of little pets, plants, fruit as well as seeds.

Paleontologists don't know if these turtles were biters - but with their car-sized bodies, one probably wouldn't want to find out.



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