Sunday, 20 May 2012

Ancient Turtle Was as Big as Small Car

A turtle the size of a small car once roamed what is now South America 60 million years ago, suggests its fossilized remains.

Discovered in a coal mine in Colombia in 2005, the turtle was given the name Carbonemys cofrinii, which means "coal turtle." It wasn't until now that the turtle was examined and described in a scientific journal; the findings are detailed online today (May 17) in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

The researchers say C. cofrinii belongs to a group of side-necked turtles known aspelomedusoides. The turtle's skull, roughly the size of an NFL football, was the most complete of the fossil remains.

In addition to its colossal size, the turtle would have been equipped with massive, powerful jaws, meaning it could've eaten just about anything in its range, from mollusks (a group that includes snails) to smaller turtles and even crocodiles, the researchers noted.

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