Car Sized Turtles Used To Roam Free Around South America

Grace Higgins | May 6th, 2020

The fossils of a huge car sized turtle has been located in South America, after scientists had spent weeks during early February 2020 excavating a known area of rare fossils in present day Colombia. A paleontologist from the University of Zurich has already confirmed this would be the biggest turtle ever found, and is most likely the largest species of turtle to ever exist.

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A beast that would have lived between 5 to 10 million years ago, the colossal sized beast measures 9 and a half feet. This would mean the turtle would have been the size of a midsize car, just imagine that walking up towards you. The turtle has been named in Latin as Stupendemys Geographicus, and is a freshwater turtle that was over 100 times larger than its closest relative that is still alive today. The closest relative would have been the big headed amazon river turtle, which is local to Brazil.

Weighing over 2,500 pounds this giant turtle had a horned shell, which indicates it was a male, as the female fossils found do not have horned shells. Horns are extremely rare in turtles, researchers believe they could have been used to during male on male combat. This would have been a perfect way that they could protect their massive skulls when fighting.

The researchers also found bite and puncture marks on the fossils, which indicates that the gigantic alligator predator known as the Purussauras probably hunted them down. The turtles themselves would have lived off a diet of fish, snakes, and mollusks. It is an incredible find that shows what type of turtles would have roamed around Colombia and Venezuela during the late Miocene epoch. This was a period in time where temperatures were starting to cool towards a series of ice ages.

This is not the first giant turtle species ever found, the first specimen, was found in 1976 in Venezuela. However, knowledge of how these giant turtles lived stalled because the fossils found was not complete enough. That has all changed now with the recent discovery.

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