Skip to main content

In Photos: Bones Reveal Ancient Sea Turtle

Fitting two halves

humerus of an ancient sea turtle with museum curator

(Image credit: New Jersey State Museum)

What at first appeared to be an oddly placed stone, found in 2012 by amateur fossil hunter Gregory Harpel, turned out to be half of a fossilized sea turtle bone. The most amazing part: The other half was found more than 160 years ago. Here, David Parris (shown here), curator of natural history at the New Jersey State Museum, examines the two casts of fossils that came from the same ancient turtle bone. [Read full story]

2 Halves

two halves of an ancient sea turtle humerus examined by curator David Parris.

(Image credit: New Jersey State Museum)

Together, the two halves reveal one of the largest sea turtles ever to have lived. [Read full story]

3D Scan

3d scan of ancient sea turtle bones

(Image credit: Jesse Pruitt, Idaho Museum of Natural History)

A 3-D scan of the two broken turtle limb fossils from Atlantocheyls mortoni shows a detailed view of their surfaces. Paleontologists from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and from the New Jersey State Museum concluded these two fossils came from the same animal, despite being discovered separately at least 163 years apart. [Read full story]

Fitting bones

two halves of an ancient sea turtle humerus

(Image credit: Drexel University)

The two partial limb fossils from the ancient sea turtle Atlantocheyls mortoni fit together perfectly, leaving little room for doubt that they are from the same bone. The distal half (shown on the left) was discovered in 2012; the proximal half (at right) has been in the collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for more than a century and is shown with its original labels. It was first described in 1849. [Read full story]

Hefty bones

Jason Schein (left), the assistant natural history curator at the New Jersey State Museum, and Ted Daeschler, associate curator of vertebrate zoology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, hold two halves of the ancient sea turtle bone.

(Image credit: Video Screengrab, Drexel University)

Jason Schein (left), the assistant natural history curator at the New Jersey State Museum, and Ted Daeschler, associate curator of vertebrate zoology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, hold two halves of the ancient sea turtle bone. [Read full story]

A Giant

sketch of ancient sea turtle

(Image credit: Jason Poole, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University)

Now that paleontologists have assembled a complete humerus bone from the sea turtle Atlantocheyls mortoni, they have more information about the species and its overall size. Based on the complete limb, the researchers calculated the animal's overall size to be about 10 feet from tip to tail, making it one of the largest sea turtles ever known. [Read full story]

A loggerhead sea turtle with a tag. A new, less expensive technique can be used to track turtles just as accurately, according to a new study.

A loggerhead sea turtle with a tag. A new, less expensive technique can be used to track turtles just as accurately, according to a new study.

(Image credit: UCF)

The ancient sea turtle may have resembled modern loggerhead turtles (shown here). In this illustration, it is depicted with the outline of a human diver to indicate scale. The turtle lived 70 million to 75 million years ago. [Read full story]