It has been confirmed that remains of a fossilized sea turtle dug up in 2007 are the oldest of the animal’s kind known.
According to GeoBeats News:
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The specimens are estimated to be around 120 million years old. The fossilized remains were discovered in Colombia by amateur paleontologist Mary Luz Parra, while working with her brothers Juan and Freddy. Researchers at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt examined the fossils further and published an extensive report on their findings in the journal PaleoBios.
They consider this to be an incredibly valuable find that could help fill in the evolutionary history of sea turtles. Though in many ways sea turtles have remained much as they were back then, a significant split of environmental preferences occurred about 230 million years ago.
Some took to land, while others gravitated towards the sea. Why and how that came to be is largely unknown due to the scarcity of examples from that long ago. Dr. Edwin Cadena, one of the researchers, noted, “This lends a special importance to every fossil discovery that can contribute to clarifying the phylogeny of the sea turtles.”
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