Name: Carbonemys ‭(‬Carbon turtle‭)‬.
Phonetic: Car-bon-em-iss.
Named By: E.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Cadena,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Ksepka,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jaramillo‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Bloch.‭ ‬-2012.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Testudines,‭ ‬Pleurodira,‭ ‬Podocnemididae.
Species: C.‭ ‬cofrinii‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Uncertain/Carnivore‭?
Size: Shell up to‭ ‬1.72‭ ‬meters long.‭ ‬Skull about‭ ‬25‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Columbia‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cerrejón Formation.
Time period: Selandian to the Thanetian of the Palaeocene.
Fossil representation: Partial shell and skull.

       The Carbonemys holotype remains were first discovered in a coal mine,‭ ‬and since coal is essentially fossilised carbon,‭ ‬the name Carbonemys was chosen for the genus.‭ ‬The form of the shell is very interesting as it indicates that Carbonemys would have been a member of the Pleurodira,‭ ‬a group better known as the‭ ‘‬side-necked turtles‭’‬.‭ ‬Side-necked turtles tend to have proportionately longer necks than other turtles,‭ ‬which means that they are too long to retract inwards under the shell.‭ ‬Because of this problem,‭ ‬these turtles instead bend their necks to one side so that they lay against the body and under the ridge of the carapace‭ (‬upper shell‭)‬,‭ ‬hence the name‭ ‘‬side-necked turtle‭’‬.
       Of course,‭ ‬being of a physically large size means that not many predators would pose a threat to you.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬even though the dinosaurs seem to have gone extinct from South America just a few millions of years before the first known of appearance of Carbonemys,‭ ‬giant super predators had already appeared on the landscape.‭ ‬For example,‭ ‬the giant snake Titanoboa,‭ ‬which at the time of writing may be the largest snake so far discovered,‭ ‬is also known from the same formation as Carbonemys.‭ ‬The presence of a giant turtle and a giant snake at the same time as one another is a good indication as to the kinds of fauna that rose up to replace the ecological gaps that were left behind by the extinction of the dinosaurs,‭ ‬and would continue to be quite dominant until the combined rise of mammals and birds.
       Skull remains of Carbonemys are also known,‭ ‬and the form of the skull indicates that Carbonemys had a very strong bite.‭ ‬One idea is that these jaws may have been used for crunching through the armoured bodies of crocodiles such as the genus Cerrejonisuchus,‭ ‬which as the name suggests is also from the Cerrejón Formation.‭ ‬However it must be remembered that the mouth of Carbonemys could have been used to kill either animals or crop vegetation,‭ ‬or perhaps even both.‭ ‬We also can’t look to other modern turtles of the Pleurodira because some genera are carnivorous while others are herbivorous,‭ ‬which can only further confusion as to the speculated diet of Carbonemys.‭ ‬Only the stomach contents of multiple individuals of Carbonemys could give us a‭ ‬clearer idea as to the exact diet of this genus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬New pelomedusoid turtles from the late Palaeocene Cerrejon Formation of Colombia and their implications for phylogeny and body size evolution.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Systematic Palaeontology‭ ‬10‭(‬2‭)‬:313-331‭ ‬-‭ ‬E.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Cadena,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Ksepka,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jaramillo‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Bloch.‭ ‬-2012.


Random favourites