Car-sized prehistoric turtle was built for battle

Katie Ramirez
February 15, 2020

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.

The turtle - Stupendemys geographicus - is thought to have actually strolled the area in between 13 as well as 7 million years back.

Stupendemys is the second-largest known turtle, behind seagoing Archelon, which lived roughly 70 million years ago at the end of the age of dinosaurs and reached about 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length. The new fossils included the largest-known turtle shell - 9.4ft (2.86 meters) long, even larger than Archelon's shell - and the first lower jaw remains, which gave clues about its diet.

Since the giant tortoises swallow very large fruits and their seeds could be excreted from some distance away, Stupendemys geographicus probably had an important distribution role in the ecosystem.

"Stupendemys geographicus was huge and heavy".

It is one of the largest turtles, said Marcelo Sanchez, from the University of Zurich, the main author of the study. The horns also helped protect the massive skulls of the males when they fought with other males - females didn't have this feature.

This incredible shell makes the ancient creature one of the largest or even the largest turtle that ever existed on our planet, according to what the study senior researcher Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra.

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Despite its enormous size, Stupendemys wasn't safe in the Venezuelan swamps.

The initially Stupendemys fossils were uncovered in the 1970 s however lots of secrets have actually continued to be regarding the 4- metre lengthy pet. Bite marks and punctured bones in fossil carapaces of Stupendemys support the notion that the turtle was subjected to predation. It shared the environment with giant crocodilians, including the 11m-long caiman Purussaurus and the 10m-long gavial Gryposuchus.

According to one of the paleontologists, Roger Wood first described the giant in 1976.

Where there is only desert today, there was a network of rivers and lakes five million years ago, in which in addition to giant turtles ...

It now appears likely that Stupendemys geographicus was the lone species of giant turtle living in the region at that time, he said, and there were differences between the sexes and their diet was diverse and omnivorous.

A sprawling wetland and lake system meant plenty of room for massive animals - especially the Stupendemys, which spent most of its days at the bottom of freshwater streams and small lakes, Cadena said.

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