The scientific tourist #283 — Cretaceous Sea Turtle

Recovered from the Niobrara Chalk formation (Logan County, Kansas), but on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science — it’s a Protostega gigas (an extinct species of sea turtle) from the Late Cretaceous, some 85 MYA:

Cretaceous Sea Turtle

Protostega was the second largest turtle that ever lived, growing to over 3 meters (10 feet) in length.  Notice that you can see through its back — in most modern sea turtles, the back bones are fused together to form a fairly solid shell.  Protomega’s ribs were still widely spaced (as with a modern leatherback sea turtle), providing protection but saving weight.

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