Did a dinosaur crush a solitary turtle in the Late Jurassic of Switzerland?

Suggested reconstruction of a sauropod dinosaur foot stepping onto the turtle. Paleorxiv Papers

A Swiss team has found an ancient fossil of sea turtle which appears to have been crushed by a dinosaur in the Jura Mountains.

This content was published on September 7, 2019 - 11:00

“The configuration of the fossil turtle suggests that the shell was possibly trodden on by a large sauropod dinosaur,” reads a paper on the finding which was published by the Swiss Journal of Geosciences on August 27,

The fossil was unearthed in the Swiss mountains that gave the Jurassic period its name.

The turtle shell was found during an extensive dig in the Jura Mountains, which gave the Jurassic Period its name, undertaken at the start of the 21st century.

The construction of Highway A16 gave rise to the paleontological project dubbed “Paléontologie A16”.

These excavations unearthed sweeping dinosaur track sites which were concentrated in tidal flat environments and a diverse vertebrate fossil collection from the Kimmerdigian age.

The discovery of the turtle remains in a region roamed by dinosaurs indicates that “thalassochelydian turtles occasionally visited these tidal flat environments.”

The paleontologists note that it is possible that female turtles regularly crossed tidal flats to reach the beach and lay eggs but if this were the case one would expect a higher number of such findings.

Another theory is that the fossil corresponds to a stranded turtle that got stuck in a mudflat and/or dried out in the sun on its way to the sea.

Christian Püntener, Jean-Paul Billon-Bruyat, Daniel Marty and Géraldine Paratte penned the paper on this unusual finding.

This image illustrates the disarticulated parts of the sea turtle fossil found by Swiss paleontologists. Paleorxiv Papers

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