Ancient turtle was round like a truck tire
Wednesday, July 11 2012 @ 06:42 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The new species, Puentemys mushaisaensis, was about 5 feet in diameter and adds to growing evidence that following the extinction of the dinosaurs, tropical reptiles were much bigger than they are now, researchers said.
Its extremely circular shell, about the size and shape of a big truck tire, could have discouraged predators, including Titanoboa -- which would have had a hard time swallowing the turtle -- and may have aided in regulating its body temperature by increasing body area exposed to the sun, study lead author Edwin Cadena of North Carolina State said.