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Description

GIANT FOSSIL TURTLE
Stylemys nebrascensis
Oligocene
White River Badlands
South Dakota

Both Turtles and Tortoises belong to an order of reptiles called Testudines with the primary difference being that Turtles are aquatic (water dwelling), whereas Tortoises are terrestrial (land dwelling). Both have bodies that are protected by shells featuring an upper part called the Carapace and a lower part called the Plastron. This spectacular specimen belongs to the genus Stylemys (which literally means "pillar turtle") and is actually a giant dry land Tortoise from the renowned Badlands region of the United States. It was first described by the famous paleontologist Dr. Joseph Leidy in 1851. Unlike their Turtle counterparts, Tortoises have heavier shells which often feature a dome shape. They have primitive jaw muscles indicating an herbivorous diet. Unlike contemporary Tortoises, Stylemys was characterized by forelimbs not suitable for burrowing which distinguished it from modern genera. This wonderful fossil is from the renowned White River Badlands which is known to have produced an abundance of spectacular Oligocene fossils. The entire Badlands region was formed as the result of the two geological processes of deposition and erosion. This huge specimen measures an incredible 23 inches (58.42 cm) long, 17 inches (43.18 cm) wide and 8 inches (20.32 cm) from bottom to the top of its dome. It weighs approximately 120 pounds (54.5 kilograms). The amazing size of this specimen puts it in the top 5% of all Turtles found there. The specimen was expertly re-assembled and restored, and it features approximately 85-90% of the original fossil material with limited restoration. This Tortoise was clearly a male as evidenced by the concavity of the Plastron. As an added bonus, the color is much more of a vibrant white than is typical of such fossils.


[Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]

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Auction Dates
June, 2013
2nd
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 2
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