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Turtle With Frog Face

Palaeontologists recently discovered an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of a new and extinct species of Turtle which was dating back to the late Cretaceous Period, which began around 100 million years ago. The discovered species would have had a frog-like face and eaten by sucking in mouthfuls of prey-filled water.

The ancient Turtle was a freshwater species endemic to Madagascar, with a shell length of around 25 centimeters. The species had a flattened skull, rounded mouth and large tongue bones, all of which would have made it a great suction feeder and given it an amphibian-like appearance. In the new study describing the species, the researchers named it Sahonachelys mailakavava, which means quick-mouthed frog Turtle in Malagasy, the language spoken by Indiginous people of Madagascar.

Researchers unearthed the Turtle fossil in 2015 while looking for the remains of dinosaurs and crocodiles at a site on the island with a history of such finds. While removing the overburden of the bare layers of sediment above fossil-rich layers the team was surprised to find bone fragments from a Turtle shell and eventually recovered an almost intact skeleton. Walter Joyce, the lead author and paleontologist at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland Said that the specimen is beautiful and certainly one of the best-preserved late Cretaceous turtles known from all southern continents. It is a very rare find.

The lead author added that they are unsure how far back the quick-mouthed frog Turtle may have emerged or when and why it went extinct. The new species survived the big extinction event that killed the dinosaurs and brought the Cretaceous Period to an end around 66 million years ago.

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