Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thick-shelled turtle species lived with world's biggest snake, reveals fossil found in Colombian coal mine

Date:
April 8, 2010
Source:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Summary:
The discovery of a new fossil turtle species in Colombia's Cerrejón coal mine by researchers helps to explain the origin of one of the most biodiverse groups of turtles in South America.

Deep in Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine, among house-sized trucks, Edwin Cadena discovered Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki, a new species of fossil turtle, which sheds light on the evolution of turtles in the Americas and beyond.
Credit: Edwin Cadena

The discovery of a new fossil turtle species in Colombia's Cerrejón coal mine by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Florida Museum of Natural History helps to explain the origin of one of the most biodiverse groups of turtles in South America.

Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki takes its genus name from Cerrejón, and emys -- Greek for turtle. Its species name is the language spoken by the Wayuu people who live on the Guajira Peninsula in northeastern Colombia near the mine.

About as thick as a standard dictionary, this turtle's shell may have warded off attacks by the Titanoboa, thought to have been the world's biggest snake, and by other, crocodile-like creatures living in its neighborhood 60 million years ago.

"The fossils from Cerrejón provide a snapshot of the first modern rainforest in South America -- after the big Cretaceous extinctions and before the Andes rose, modern river basins formed and the Panama land bridge connected North and South America," explains Carlos Jarmillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian who studies the plants from Cerrejón.

"We are still trying to understand why six of this turtle's modern relatives live in the Amazon, Orinoco and Magdalena river basins of South America and one lives in Madagascar," explains Edwin Cadena, first author of the study and a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University. "It closes an important gap in the fossil record and supports the idea that the group originated near the tip of South America before the continent separated from India and Madagascar more than 90 million years ago."

Cadena will characterize two more new turtle species and analyze the histology of fossil turtle bones from the Cerrejón site. "I hope this will give us an even better understanding of turtle diversity in the region and some important clues about the environment where they lived."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edwin Cadena, Jonathan Bloch, Carlos Jaramillo. New Podocnemidid Turtle (Testudines: Pleurodira) from the Middle-Upper Paleocene of South America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2010; 30 (2): 367 DOI: 10.1080/02724631003621946

Cite This Page:

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Thick-shelled turtle species lived with world's biggest snake, reveals fossil found in Colombian coal mine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133714.htm>.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. (2010, April 8). Thick-shelled turtle species lived with world's biggest snake, reveals fossil found in Colombian coal mine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133714.htm
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Thick-shelled turtle species lived with world's biggest snake, reveals fossil found in Colombian coal mine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133714.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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