This is the first known sea turtle—and it laid hard eggs | Science

Edwin Cadena

Unlike all contemporary sea turtles, which lay eggs with soft, flexible shells, the earliest known sea turtle transferred eggs with hard, mineralized shells on the beach, a brand-new research study recommends.

The 120- million-year-old fossil (image above) was uncovered in main Colombia more than a years earlier. It comes from Desmatochelys padillai, a types of sea turtle first explained from other fossils in2015 Ever since, digital tomography scans of the brand-new specimen have actually exposed more than 4 lots nearly round eggs varying in between about 32 and 43 millimeters in size (4 revealed loose at left, above). And other tests, consisting of a tiny take a look at the mineral structure of the unspoiled eggs, exposes eggs had rigid shells, scientists report online today in Palaeontology The membrane that lined the eggshells in life was much thinner than the shells themselves. That resembles the percentages seen in hard- shelled turtle eggs of modern-day freshwater or terrestrial types however completely unlike the percentages seen in today’s sea turtles.

It’s uncertain why D. padillai laid hard- shelled eggs when today’s sea turtles do not. One possibility is that it’s an evolutionary throwback from softer eggshells from earlier, as-yet-undiscovered types of sea turtles. Or, the stiff shells might have provided increased defense versus birds, crabs, or other predators of the period. In either case, D. padillai was an evolutionary quirk.

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