Mating turtles frozen in time fifty million years ago
2012-06-20 0:00

From: Telegraph.co.uk



It is the first time fossils of vertebrates - animals with backbones that include ourselves - have been caught in the act.

Nine pairs of fossils - the females identified by their shorter tails - were found in a the Messel Pit, near Darmstadt in Germany. It is believed the copulating couples were overcome by poisonous gas at the bottom of a volcanic crater.

Dr Walter Joyce, of the University of Tuebingen, Germany, said the turtles belonged to an extinct species known as Allaeochelys crassesculpta and anatomical evidence revealed each pair had a male and female member.

Their upper shell would have reached almost two feet in length and been more than a foot wide. Males had much longer tails protruding beyond the margin of the shell, whereas the females’ were short enough to remain inside.

Dr Joyce said: "We demonstrate for the first time all couples contain one male and one female individual and the tails of some males are aligned with those of the female."

It is believed volcanic gases were emitted from the lake from time to time and caused the death of many animals that lived in and around it which is why so many fossil vertebrates have been found in the sediment.

Dr Joyce, whose findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, said: "The behaviour of fossil organisms can typically be inferred only indirectly, but rare fossil finds can provide surprising insights.

"Here, we report numerous pairs of the fossil turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta that represent for the first time among fossil vertebrates couples that perished during copulation.

[...]


Read the full article at: telegraph.co.uk
Image: Telegraph.co.uk "Nine pairs of fossils - the females identified by their shorter tails - were found in a the Messel Pit, near Darmstadt in Germany." National News








Related Articles
Experts baffled by mysterious sea turtle deaths
BP Blocks Attempt to Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Oil Spill
Villagers protect turtle they declare to be God
The Red Deer People - Human fossils hint at new species
Rare (Nessie) Fossil Find in Alberta Tar Sands
Whales in the desert: A fossil mystery (Gallery)
Life on Mars? Fossil find shows it’s possible
Monstrously Big Ant Fossil Found in Wyoming
Largest Fossil Spider Found in Volcanic Ash


Latest News from our Front Page

Not Again: More US AID, Missiles Shipped to al Qaeda, al Nusra and ISIS in Syria, Iraq
2015-03-06 4:28
Two weeks ago, 21WIRE reported on how ISIS and other terrorists militants operating in Syria and Iraq are receiving regular weapons and ‘supply drops’ – forming a ‘rat line’ which seems to be playing a crucial role in keeping this highly profitable conflict going on both sides. This week, it’s been reported that Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters have been brandishing US-supplied ...
Swedish parliament removes Baroque artist's bare breasted painting for offending feminists and Muslims
2015-03-06 3:28
A nude painting named Juno, which was painted by baroque artist G E Schröder and has hung in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years has been taken down for fear of offending the sensitivities of feminists and Muslim visitors, Swedish newspaper, The Local reported on Thursday. Explaining the ban on the baroque breasts, a source from the ...
White US children will be minorities by 2020 after immigrant 'baby boom', Census reveals
2015-03-05 19:50
This is the result of an ongoing trend of declining birth among white Americans and a baby boom among immigrant groups, as well as a surge in immigration. By the year 2020, 50.2percent of all children in the US are expected to be non-white, according to the Census. By 2044, whites will be outnumbered by minorities. The Census study, released ...
New Jersey Shopkeeper Hangs 'White History Month' Sign In Window
2015-03-05 18:08
A deli owner in Flemington, New Jersey, has angered many of his neighbors by posting a sign on his window that reads, "Celebrate Your White Heritage in March White History Month." Jim Boggess, who is the owner of Jimbo's Deli, says he put up the sign to remind everyone that they should be proud of their race and culture. "No matter what ...
The Viking ”Maine Penny” Mystery
2015-03-05 3:41
In 1957, during his second year of digging at the Goddard site; a large prehistoric Indian trade village in Penobscot Bay on the central Maine coast, local resident and amateur archaeologist Guy Mellgren found a small silver coin. The coin is later identified by experts as a Norse silver penny dating to the reign of Olaf Kyrre, king of Norway ...
More News »