Photo: Artwork by Liz Bradford
60 million years ago, a car-sized turtle with jaws powerful enough to eat crocodiles and a shell large enough to be a small swimming pool lived in what is now northern Colombia. The fossilized creature, named Carbonemys cofrinii, or “coal turtle,” after being discovered in a Colombia coal mine in 2005, was recently described by researchers in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
The turtle’s skull is about the size of a football and a shell found nearby believed to belong to the same specimen is about five and half feet long.
According to Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News:
[North Carolina State doctoral student Edwin Cadena] and other experts believe that a combination of changes in the ecosystem, including fewer predators, a larger habitat area, plentiful food supply and climate changes, worked together to allow these giant species to survive.
Paleontologists think that only one turtle of this size was found because it would need a huge area in order to get enough food to survive.
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