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Mystery fossil #59 is...

Podocnemis pritchardi, a turtle from the Miocene of South America

Mystery fossil #59
 
With this photo, it is easier to see what you're looking at. It is the underside front end (anterior plastron) of a turtle shell. At the top of the photo you can see the carapace, the upper shell of the turtle.

The oldest known turtle fossils are from the Late Triassic of Germany, so they appeared just around the time that dinosaurs arrived on the scene. The fossil record for turtles is really quite good, however, the phylogenetic relationships of the group are still misunderstood as morphological data appear to conflict with molecular data.

This turtle fossil was collected from Miocene rocks in Colombia, South America. Turtles of the genus Podocnemis still live in South America today. Read more about turtles here.
 


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