World’s oldest fossil sea turtle discovered

London, Sep 8 (IANS) A fossil sea turtle from Colombia that is at least 120 million years old is the world’s oldest, scientists have determined.

The almost completely preserved skeleton from the Cretaceous period, with a length of nearly two metres, shows all of the characteristic traits of modern marine turtles.

“Santanachelys gaffneyi is the oldest known sea turtle” — this sentence from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is no longer up to date.

“We described a fossil sea turtle from Colombia that is about 25 million years older,” said Edwin Cadena from Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany.

“The turtle described by us as Desmatochelys padillai sp. originates from Cretaceous sediments and is at least 120 million years old,” Cadena pointed out.

The fossilised remains of the ancient reptiles were discovered in Colombia in 2007.

Cadena and his colleague examined the almost complete skeleton, four additional skulls and two partially preserved shells, and they placed the fossils in the turtle group Chelonioidea, based on various morphological characteristics.

Turtles in this group dwell in tropical and subtropical oceans; among their representatives are the modern Hawksbill Turtle and the Green Sea Turtle of turtle soup fame.

“Based on the animals’ morphology and the sediments they were found in, we are certain that we are indeed dealing with the oldest known fossil sea turtle,” Cadena noted.

The findings were detailed in the journal PaleoBios.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here