About five to 10 million years in the past, large turtles that roamed freshwater swamps in South America. Scientists have revealed shells relating to Stupendemys geographicus, the biggest turtle that ever existed. Its shell reached practically 10 feet in size and weighed 2,500 kilos.
By finding out the shells and decrease jaw fossils, researchers found the males had horned shells to guard their skulls. Regardless of their measurement, big bite marks within the shells present that predators, together with large alligator-like caimans, weren’t deterred by the animal’s enormous defend.
The brand new fossil shells have been present in Colombia and Venezuela. The turtle was first reported in 1976 by paleontologist Roger Wood. He named it Stupendemys for its massive dimension and geographicus in recognition to all of the assists that National Geographic Society has given to fossil turtle analysis, in accordance with Edwin Cadena, examine writer, geologist, and vertebrate paleontologist at Del Rosario University in Colombia.
However, the brand new fossils showcase the large measurement of the turtles, in addition to the enormous horned options of the shell near the turtle’s neck. The horns additionally helped shield the large skulls of the males after they fought with different males — females did not have this characteristic.
They examine printed Wednesday within the journal Science Advances.
Cadena was shocked to uncover the primary decrease jaw that belonged to this species, “one thing that we’ve been looking and ready to seek out for many years,” he mentioned.
The decrease jaw helps fill in one other puzzle piece about these turtles, offering a greater thought of their food regimen. They ate various vary of fish, crocodiles, snakes, and mollusks, and had been in a position to crush open seeds with their large decrease jawbones, Cadena stated.
Though the world the place these turtles as soon as lived is now largely desert, it was a damp, swampy freshwater area stuffed with numerous life millions of years in the past. And it was the right atmosphere for this large turtle, seemingly permitting them to succeed in an “unparalleled dimension.”
Though they do not know what precisely brought about it to go extinct, researchers know that its habitat was disrupted when the Andes mountains rose and separated the Amazon, Orinoco and Magdalena rivers.