Thursday, 25 June 2015

Ancient, Shell-Less Turtle Sported Whiplike Tail

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | June 24, 2015 02:00pm ET

An ancestor of modern-day turtles, a shell-less creature with a long tail once puttered around an ancient lake, likely munching on insects and worms with its peglike teeth, a new study finds.

Researchers found the first fossils of the 240-million-year-old creature in 2006, during an excavation of Vellberg Lake, an ancient lakebed in southeastern Germany, said study researcher Hans Sues, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian Museum ofNatural History  in Washington, D.C.

"We now have well over a dozen specimens, including partial skeletons but also some isolated parts of skeletons," Sues told Live Science. "But we have a nice spectrum of sizes, so you can sort of see how the animal grows and changes." 

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