Brazil: early turtle fossil found

Araripemys arturiThe BBC reports:

Reptile fossil is ‘early turtle

Sarah Fielding

A fossil reptile discovered in Brazil may be the oldest known creature that resembles a modern turtle.

The 120-million-year-old find is linked to present-day representatives by its heavily webbed, paddle-shaped foot – an adaptation to life in the sea.

Soft tissue has been preserved on the specimen, allowing scientists to confirm the webbing rather than infer it from the length of the foot bones.

A University of Portsmouth team publish details in the journal Palaeontology.

Representatives of the turtle lineage are known from the fossil record as far back as 200 million years.

But these examples look more like tortoises, suggesting they were still very much adapted to life on land. …

“We have an incomplete slab, so it may once have had a skull as well. It’s a real enigma and we don’t have the other bits.

It’s possible somebody found the other half and it is somewhere else being looked at.”

New species

However, the researchers have enough of the specimen to determine it belongs to a new species, which they have named Araripemys arturi.

Ms Fielding, Darren Naish and David Martill from Portsmouth found that the specimen differs in some important ways from another fossil turtle from the same formation called Araripemys barretoi.

Also: ancient Chinese jade tortoise found (presumably, it was for fortune-telling).

An ancient and extinct species of marine turtle is described as being one of the largest turtles to have ever lived on Earth, and a peculiar eater that sucked up its prey with its abnormally long snout: here.

6 thoughts on “Brazil: early turtle fossil found

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