March 7, 2009

72 Million Year Old Turtle Fossil Found In Mexico

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) unveiled the oldest fossil remains of a sea turtle on Thursday that lived 72 million years ago in northern Mexico.

"It is the oldest sea turtle of its kind and it belongs to the chelonia family. The oldest specimen of this species up to now was 65 million years old and was found in New Jersey, United States," the INAH said in a statement.

Fossils of seven sea turtles were found at different sites in the state that Mexican scientists call "the paradise of paleontology," Coahuila.

The institute said that the sea turtle inhabited the northern region in the late Cretaceous period, 72 million years ago, and is the ancestor of the present day green turtle.

The turtle was a yard long, 28 inches wide and is distinct from other turtles by its rounded head.