The worlds oldest turtles has been found

Sonia Ruiz, reporter

The world’s oldest sea turtle fossil shows the ancient animals used to swim in at least 120 million years when dinosaurs still ruled the earth in now we live in. According to some recent analysis, the now-extinct Desmatochelys Padillai turtle skeleton was found in Villa de Leyva Colombia. This turtle is 25 years older than the world’s oldest sea turtle fossils found the Santanachelys Gaffneyi turtle that was found in Brazil that held the world record of being the oldest sea turtle found.

The d. Padilla specimen was dug up by Mary Luz Parra and her two brothers in 2007. However, it wasn’t until Edwin Cadena a researcher at the Senckenberg research institute and natural history museum in Germany and James Paraham, an assistant professor of geological sciences at California state university, Fullerton, inspected it that the fossil was determined to be the oldest specimen in the world going back to the Cretaceous period, between 145.5 million and 65.5 million years ago.

” The cool thing about this turtle is its age buts is not very primitive,” said Paraham told live science. though the specimen is at least 120 million years old the turtle doesn’t look like an ancient species that was early on its evolution and instead is “veryspecialized “he added. this suggests there could be older sea turtles that can still be and waiting for to be found ( if they are preserved ), the scientist said.

The finding also suggests that the turtle could have evolved to become sea dwellers more than the once throughout history the researcher said. Because of the d. Padillai is so old it doesn’t look like primitive it might not be related to sea turtles. Rather it might be an altogether surprising theory he added because mammals reptiles and other animals evolved separatelyseveral times to produce a variety of sea-dwelling animals

For instance, mammals advanced many times to become sea creatures like dolphins and seals and they came from different ancestors. the researchers think it’s likely that turtles did the same and evolved several times with different descendants to live in the sea. some sea turtles became ones like D. while others evolved independently to become the modern turtles that live in the sea today. 

to determine the fossilized turtle’s age the researchers examined the invertebrates called ammonites preserved in the rock and sediment around the turtle. amenities were widespread through the cretaceous period, which means they can be used to figure out how old they surrounding rock is, Paraham said.

the finding that the turtle lived during the cretaceous period could help shed light on sea turtle history the researchers said. the exact point that the turtle split into sea dwellers and land dwellers has been difficult for researchers to identify. there are few turtles fossil from this period so every specimen is important for understanding the story of how the sea turtles evolved.

The researcher has not yet conducted a test to determine whether the D. Padillai fossil evolved independently from modern-day turtles, but paleontology labs around the world are studying the idea. “we’re trying to figure out how turtles lived over 100 million years ago are related,” Parahm said “it’s not so easy.

Some partial reminds of D. Padillai were originally discovered and dug up in the 1940s in Colombia but were not studied for many years. for Parham, the new research comes full circle, because he was first introduced to these fossils when he was in graduate school at the University of California Berkley. now 18 years later he realized the fossil significance. The newfind dug up in 2007 had better location data, which allowed the research to date the turtle more accurately.