A huge Volkswagen-sized turtle fossil was uncovered in a Colombian coal mine in 2005 and details about the incredible find will be available in the June 2012 Journal of Systematic Paleontology. What an amazing creature to read about!
With the skull the size of an NFL football and powerful jaws, the turtle could eat anything from mollusks to crocodiles. This turtle must have truly been the 'king' of the lake back in its day.
Researcher, Dan Ksepka, explains that this gigantic turtle probably ate all of its competitors. This seems to be the biggest species found in the area for this time period which is estimated to be about 5 million years after the dinosaurs died out.
It's amazing, but the Volkswagen-sized turtle was not the only huge creature lurking around during its time. The largest snake ever discovered, measuring a whopping 45-feet long, lived in the same area about 60 million years ago. Scientists believe that a warm climate and abundant food contributed to the gargantuan sizes of the animals in South America.
Edwin Cadena, researcher from North Carolina State, explains the importance of finding the monstrous turtle fossil.
"We had recovered smaller turtle specimens from the site. But after spending about four days working on uncovering the shell, I realized that this particular turtle was the biggest anyone had found in this area for this time period Â— and it gave us the first evidence of gigantism in freshwater turtles."
It is difficult to imagine such large creatures roaming the earth. Thankfully, the fossils found hold clues to the amazing way they must have looked and how they lived.
Photo Source: CS Monitor