Ancient Car-Sized Turtles Hung Out with Titanoboas

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Scientists recently discovered a fossilized turtle so big, its shell could be mistaken for a boat. If you were to stand it up, is 5 foot 7 inches, just shorter than the average American male. That's just the shell. Its skull is about the size of a football and was equipped with massive jaws that allowed it to eat almost anything. This fossilized remains of this car-sized beast were recently discovered in Columbia.

The remains of the turtle, called Carbonemys cofrinii, were found in a Colombian coal mine by a team of NC State researchers. Published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the 60 million-year-old, freshwater-dwelling turtle is the first example of gigantism in freshwater turtles. Likely a dominant preditor, the turtle was also probably a neighbor of the largest snake ever discovered, Titanoboa, which hung out in what is now Columbia. So to recap, five million years after the end of the dinosaurs, there were still giant terrible reptiles hanging around dank swamps in South America. Sounds pleasant. [NC State via Eureka]


Image via Liz Bradford