Where was it found? A team of paleontologists identified in northwestern Spain. What is it? A turtle fossil. But it’s not just any fossil. It is the largest turtle in history. This is confirmed by a study published on November 17.
First of its kind
It is the largest species discovered so far. “This is inferred from the size of the pelvis found. It is probable that Leviathanochelys would be as big as Archelon, the extinct genus of giant turtles. What does this mean? That it would be one of the largest sea turtles ever to have existed.” This was pointed out by the Spanish authors of the study. The study was published in the specialized journal Nature.
The fossil of this species was actually discovered in July 2016. It was in an exploration near the town of Coll de Nargó, in Catalonia. This area is part of the Spanish Pyrenees. It is therefore the first of its kind to be found in Western Europe.
This species lived about 84 million years ago This was near the end of the Cretaceous period which ended about 66 million years ago. Scientists calculated the length of the animal. This was the surprising thing. It was learned that it must have been about 3.7 meters long. That is, in life this turtle was almost as long as a car. This makes it the largest turtle in history.
“It is very important the discovery of the new gigantic and strange chelonioid. Leviathanochelys aenigmatica. Its occurrence in the marine deposits of the southern Pyrenees is remarkable. It rivals in size Archelon, which swam in North American waters. And it sheds light on the diversity of sea turtles. It also sheds light on how the phenomenon of gigantism in these groups was also occurring in Europe,” the scientists said.
At the discovery site, parts of the posterior area of the shell were found. And a large part of the pelvis. It was surely very impressive in its time. We are left with its vestiges to imagine it.