Never seen such a large one in Europe: the record-breaking discovery

As the poet Khalil Gibran loved to repeat, the turtle could tell, of the streets, more than the hares could. Who knows what she could have “said”, then, the specimen whose fossil remains have just been found: it is the largest sea turtle ever discovered in the whole European continent, a remarkable record.


The details of the incredible scientific novelty were disclosed in a study, later published in the specialized journal “Scientific Reports”. The credit goes to some Spanish researchers, to be precise the Catalan Institute of Paleontology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The incredible length of the turtle

Indeed, the fossils made a gigantic and above all bizarre sea turtle “talk”. The newly found tortoise would experience the beauty of 83 million years ago, to be precise in the Campanian (one of the epochs of the Cretaceous). It is a new species to all intents and purposes, renamed with a rather complicated scientific name, Leviathanochelys aenigmatica, and above all with exceptional dimensions. In particular, it was estimated that the length could touch i 4 meters, a bit like dealing with a car today, but here we are talking about a giant turtle, probably the largest ever seen. In reality, the experts were surprised but also displaced by the discovery and the reason for the amazement is easy to tell.

THE fossil remains of this gigantic sea turtle (here the images, and the direct link to the study) they have been found in the Pyrenees which are a typical area for such finds, but not if one thinks of the considerable size. Of the Leviathanochelys aenigmatica, moreover, only is known a portion of its carapace, in addition to the basin, two details that have made it possible to arrive at a total length of 3.7 metres. It has never existed in Europe such a big tortoisewhile as far as the entire planet is concerned, the new species is second only to theArchelon of North America (4 and a half meters). Paleontologists have come to other interesting conclusions.

The swimming ability of the turtle

The largest turtle ever of the old continent should be an ancestor of the current Chelonioidea family, that is to say the group that includes all sea ‚Äč‚Äčturtles. The identification with a brand new species was facilitated by the presence of some strange protuberances that the prehistoric animal had in the highest part of the basin, something unique and never seen before. Among other things, it also seems that the tortoise in question was capable of reaching unimportant sea depths. To tell the truth, the paleontological discovery is already dated, but it took several years for the official conclusions.

Leviathanochelys aenigmatica and its fossil remains were identified for the first time in the summer of 2016. The preliminary study made it possible to ascertain some peculiar characteristics, then the analyzes continued until the official announcement in the study recently published in the scientific journal. The area of Pyrenees where the find was made is known for discoveries of this type and thanks to giant sea turtle will have even more prestige with regard to research related to dinosaurs. Waiting for new updates, this animal can enjoy its continental supremacy that won’t be easy to beat.

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Never seen such a large one in Europe: the record-breaking discovery


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