Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jurassic Turtles Could Swim

Date:
November 26, 2008
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Around 164 million years ago the earliest aquatic turtles lived in lakes and lagoons on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, according to new research.

Researchers cutting the block of stone to extract the turtle.
Credit: Copyright UCL Cell and Developmental Biology

Around 164 million years ago the earliest aquatic turtles lived in lakes and lagoons on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, according to new research.

Recent scientific fieldwork led by researchers from UCL and the Natural History Museum on Skye, an island off the north-western coast of Scotland, discovered a block of rock containing fossils that have been recognised as a new species of primitive turtle Eileanchelys waldmani.

Months of work at the Natural History Museum freed these skeletons from the rock, revealing four well-preserved turtles and the remnants of at least two others. These remains, and a beautiful skull found nearby, represent the most complete Middle Jurassic turtle described to date, offering substantial new insights into the early evolution of turtles and how they diversified into the varied forms we see today.

Investigation into the palaeoecology of the area – the relationship between these ancient turtles and their environment – shows that these turtles lived in conditions that were very different to modern-day Skye. The turtles were found alongside fossils of other aquatic species such as sharks and salamanders that would have lived in a landscape made up of low-salinity lagoons and freshwater floodplain lakes and pools.

The research team was led by Dr Susan Evans from UCL Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) and Dr Paul Barrett (of the Natural History Museum and an honorary member of the CDB). The team included Jérémy Anquetin, PhD student in Vertebrate Palaeontology in Dr Evans’ lab and the Department of Palaeontology of the Natural History Museum. Anquetin, who is researching the development and classification of early turtles, led the fossils’ description – and believes these findings to be extremely significant to our understanding of primitive turtles.

“Although the majority of modern turtles are aquatic forms, it has been convincingly demonstrated that the most primitive turtles from the Triassic period, around 210 million years ago, were exclusively terrestrial. Until the discovery of Eileanchelys we thought that adaptation to aquatic habitat might have appeared among primitive turtles, but we had no fossil evidence of that. Now we know for sure that there were aquatic turtles in the Jurassic period, around 164 million years ago. This discovery also demonstrates that turtles were more ecologically diverse early in their history than had been suspected before.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jérémy Anquetin et al. A new stem turtle from the Middle Jurassic of Scotland: new insights into the evolution and palaeoecology of basal turtles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Online November 18, 2008 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1429

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Jurassic Turtles Could Swim." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119093227.htm>.
University College London. (2008, November 26). Jurassic Turtles Could Swim. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119093227.htm
University College London. "Jurassic Turtles Could Swim." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119093227.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins