10: Evidence of car-sized turtles found in Colombia

February 25, 2020

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A man is shown laying next to a large turtle shell the size of a midsize car.

Paleontologist Rodolfo Sánchez and a male carapace of Stupendemys geographicus, from Venezuela, found in deposits that are 8 million years old.

Credit:

Edwin Cadena/University of Zurich

From The World and PRX, this is The Number in the News. Today’s number: 10.

While evidence of giant turtles first emerged in Venezuela in 1976, new research uncovers the first full-sized, 10-foot-long shell that once belonged to what's believed to be the largest turtles in history. A team of researchers from Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia spent six years searching, gathering, processing and researching the giant shells. The giant turtles would have dwarfed humans and were the size and weight of a modern-day, midsize car.

In this week’s special feature of The Number in the News, lead researcher and associate professor Edwin Cadena shares what the turtles were like when they lived 7-13 million years ago as well as what caused them to go extinct.

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