Tag: turtles

Everlasting Love: Ancient Turtles Frozen in Sexual Embrace for 47 Million Years

By Sophie Bushwick | June 21, 2012 11:02 am

turtle fossils

If these fossilized turtles had a final thought, it was probably, “If you’ve gotta go, go out with a bang!” New evidence suggests that the ancient reptiles died while mating and were preserved in their final embrace.

Germany’s Messel Pit Fossil Site contains black oil shale that has preserved even the soft tissues of tens of thousands of 47-million-year-old fossils. Among them, the only ones found in pairs were nine sets of coupled carettochelyid turtles, and although previous research speculated that the reptiles were copulating, there was no proof until now. German researchers discovered that the turtles were all in male-female pairs (in the above image, the larger fossil on the left is the female), and that their tails were aligned, a position that indicates the close contact of a mating stance.

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MORE ABOUT: fossil, mating, poison, sex, turtles

Kiddie Pool-Sized Shell of Extinct Turtle Found in Colombian Mine

By Sarah Zhang | May 22, 2012 4:05 pm

giant turtle
Don’t mess with this.

Folks, those turtle-shaped sandboxes are not just a consumerist fantasy: Carbonemys cofrinii is an extinct turtle with a 10-inch skull and, more impressively, a shell that rounds out to five feet, seven inches in length. That really is big enough to dig around in. That’s also the same height as the grad student who found the 60-million-year-old fossil in a Colombian mine.

The turtle was so big that it probably drove off other turtle competitors and dominated the lake by itself, scientists say. They think that C. cofrinni preyed on mollusks and small reptiles, like the one depicted in this artist’s interpretation. If we’re going to be spending time in the belly of a turtle, though, we’d personally prefer it to be full of sand and toys rather than chewed up food.

[via Wired]

Image via North Carolina State University, credit: Liz Bradford

Weirdest of the Weird: Discoblog's Favorite Stories of 2010

By Jennifer Welsh | December 22, 2010 2:51 pm

For more top lists check out DISCOVER’s top 100 stories of the year and the 2010 top ten most-read stories from 80beats.

How do you accidentally impregnate someone who doesn’t have a vagina? Stab her in the stomach after having her perform oral sex on you. Wow, did I just really write that? No wonder this is the weirdest story of 2010…

Indian Villagers to Rare Turtle: Stay With Us, Mighty God

By Brett Israel | November 12, 2009 8:00 am

indian-turtle-webIf your God was going to drop down from the heavens for a stroll around your town, what form do you think he or she would choose? A turtle, perhaps?

According to Reuters:

Hundreds of poor Hindu villagers in eastern India have refused to hand over a rare turtle to authorities, saying it is an incarnation of God, officials said on Tuesday. Villagers chanting hymns and carrying garlands, bowls of rice and fruits are pouring in from remote villages to a temple in Kendrapara, a coastal district in eastern Orissa state.

Police have been trying to take the animal from the villagers since it’s actually illegal to harbor this rare turtle. (Note: That’s not a picture of the turtle to the left. The exact species isn’t clear from news reports.) The villagers are saying the turtle has holy symbols on its shell and is really an incarnation of Lord Jagannath, a popular Hindu deity.

Let us all pray to Jagannath that this doesn’t devolve into an Elian Gonzalez-type situation, with Indian authorities barging in to grab a confused reptile…

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Image: flickr / Rennett Stowe

MORE ABOUT: god, religion, turtles

Turtles Thrive in Suburbia, Less So in Nature Preserve

By Brett Israel | October 21, 2009 12:06 pm

turtle-webSoccer moms and Little League dads aren’t the only ones living the good life in the ‘burbs. Eastern long-necked turtles in the Australian suburbs are living fat and happy, according to new research in the journal Biological Conservation.

The finding came as a surprise to the research team. According to BBC News:

“We expected suburban turtles to move around less than those on the nature reserves in response to the many threats that suburban turtles could encounter, but we found the opposite,” says Dr John Roe, a member of the research team from the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra, Australia. “Suburban turtles traveled longer distances and occupied home ranges nearly three times larger than turtles in the nature reserves.”

Seems like suburbanites are forcing McMansions and longer commutes on turtles now too.

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Image: flickr / reggie35

MORE ABOUT: Australia, suburbs, turtles

Band of Turtles Takes Over JFK Tarmac, Delays Flights

By Allison Bond | July 9, 2009 11:16 am

Turtle!After you’ve shelled out a small fortune for a plane ticket, it’s always disappointing to find out your flight’s been delayed. But outgoing flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport weren’t running late on Wednesday morning due to weather. Instead, a horde of turtles came to shore from Jamaica Bay and took over the tarmac.

A group of 78 diamondback terrapin turtles, each weighing two to three pounds and measuring about nine inches long, spent about 35 minutes on the runway before they were removed via pickup truck. The turtles appear to be a group of females who are getting ready to lay eggs, and were looking for a place to nest en masse.

The resulting flight delays averaged about an hour and a half, according to the New York Times:

[The turtles] were originally spotted around 8:30 a.m. by a pilot, who radioed the tower.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s not at all common,” said [John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey].

He said that the turtles were perhaps attracted to the sand along one side of the runway, which juts into the water. “They tend to look for sand while they are mating,” he said. “Presumably, all these turtles were feeling amorous.” It is unclear whether the turtles pair off, or if the numbers indicated it was a group activity, he said.

It’s the latest massive swarm of animals to appear in odd places: Don’t forget about the bees on the plane and the ant colony that spans the globe. Maybe they’re all becoming zombies under the control of parasites.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Multibillion Ant “Megacolony” Set to Take Over the Globe
Discoblog: Bees on a Plane! 10,000 Bees Swarm an Airplane Wing in Massachusetts
Discoblog: Parasitic Plants Steal RNA, Spy on Their Hosts

Image: flickr / laogooli


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