Colombia: A team of researchers have stumbled upon what they believe to be the oldest fossil sea turtle that the world has ever known. According to early estimates, the fossil is nearly 120 million years old and is about two meters long. Interestingly, the specimen has all the characteristics of a modern day marine turtle.
A fossil sea turtle said to be 120 million years old has been discovered in Colombia, and it is believed to belong to the Cretaceous period. The sea turtle fossil is said to be nearly 25 million years older than the one that was previously determined as the oldest fossil sea turtle in the world.
In length, the nearly discovered sea turtle fossil measures about two meters. Amazingly, the 120-million-year turtle fossil has almost all the characteristic of today’s sea turtle, except for the fact that it its forearms have more distinguishable digits at the tip.
Proof of the Oldest Fossil Marine Turtle
Edwin Cadena, the author of the document about the oldest fossil sea turtle, there are some facts to back the claim that what they discovered is indeed the oldest sea turtle fossil.
For example, the sediments in which the remains were found and the morphology of the animal are key pointers to the fact that the fossil is the oldest that man has ever known with regards to sea turtles.
Evolution of Marine Turtle
Experts hold that sea turtles may have evolved from freshwater and terrestrial turtles that existed about 230 million years ago. The previously known oldest fossil sea turtle was discovered in Brazil back in 2008 and was named Santanachelysgaffneyi.
The newly discovered oldest sea turtle fossil has been assigned the scientific name of Desmatochelys padillai sp, and it belongs to the Chelonioidea group.
The study of the now oldest fossil of marine turtles was published in the science journal PaleoBios.