Both Halves Of A Giant Sea Turtle Fossil Found 160 Years Apart

More than 160 years ago, paleontologists found a partial fossil of a 70-million-year-old giant sea turtle, the only known example of its particular species. This week, they found the other half.

Top image: Two partial fossil halves put together / via Drexel University.

The second half was found by an amateur fossil hunter in New Jersey who donated it to the New Jersey State Museum. Seeing the similarities between this giant sea turtle and the Atlantochelys mortoni currently in the collection at Drexel University, they brought the two halves together to see if they had found a second example of the species.


They were surprised to find that the two pieces fit together like a puzzle to form a single humerus. It wasn't just the same species, it was actually the same bone.

The discovery isn't just an opportunity for putting together a centuries old paleontology puzzle, though — with the full fossil, researchers were able to calculate the size of the turtle. It was about 10 feet long, one of the largest ever found researcher's say, as this charming artist's illustration of the turtle and a modern diver — more than 70 million years apart — shows:

Image: Jason Poole / via Drexel University.

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