Name: Megalochelys ‭(‬big shell‭)‬.
Phonetic: Meg-ah-lo-chel-iss.
Named By: H.‭ ‬Falconer‭ & ‬P.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Cautley‭ ‬-‭ ‬1837.
Synonyms: Colossochelys.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Testudines,‭ ‬Cryptodira,‭ ‬Testudinoidea,‭ ‬Testudinidae.
Species: M.‭ ‬atlas,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬cautleyi‭?‬,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬margae,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬sondaari.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Largest species had a shell approaching‭ ‬2.1‭ ‬meters long.‭ ‬Estimated body length of such individuals up to‭ ‬2.5‭ ‬to‭ ‬2.7‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Confirmed fossils ranging all the way from India through to Indonesia.
Time period: From Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene,‭ ‬though some populations seem to have existed until the middle Pleistocene..
Fossil representation: Partial remains of numerous individuals.

       Megalochelys is one of the largest tortoises ever to walk the earth.‭ ‬Individuals of Megalochelys can vary greatly in size,‭ ‬though the largest species M.‭ ‬atlas,‭ (‬formerly a distinct genus‭ ‬known as Colossochelys‭)‬,‭ ‬is known to have had an upper shell size approaching just over two meters in length.‭ ‬This large size meant that Megalochelys was simply too big and‭ ‬too‭ ‬difficult to handle for most predators of the day,‭ ‬and the genus was able to successfully spread over much of Southeast Asia.
       Megalochelys as a genus however seems to have met its demise at the hands of early human hunters.‭ ‬Equipped with greater intelligence and tools,‭ ‬early Human settlers were able to work around the tough shell and skin of even the largest Megalochelys.‭ ‬These tortoises being slow and providing an easy source of meat soon succumbed to the increasing numbers of people.‭ ‬Evidence of this fate come from‭ ‬the stark observations that the population decline of Megalochelys always seems to coincide after the establishment of the first human populations in those areas,‭ ‬with the last Megalochelys disappearances coinciding with the last areas to be reached by early people.

Further reading
-‭ ‬On additional fossil species of the order Quadrumona from Siwaliks Hill.‭ ‬Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal‭ ‬6:354-360.‭ ‬-‭ ‬.‭ ‬Falconer‭ & ‬P.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Cautley‭ ‬-‭ ‬1837.
-‭ ‬Communication on the Colossochelys atlas,‭ ‬a fossil tortoise of enormous size from the Tertiary strata of the Siwalk Hills in the north of India.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London‭ ‬1844‭(‬12‭)‬:54‭–‬84.‭ ‬-‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Falconer‭ & ‬P.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Cautley‭ ‬-‭ ‬1844.
-‭ ‬Ecological history and latent conservation potential:‭ ‬large and giant tortoises as a model for taxon substitutions.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Ecography.‭ ‬Wiley.‭ ‬33‭ (‬2‭)‬:‭ ‬272‭–‬284.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Dennis M.‭ ‬Hansen,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Josh Donlan,‭ ‬Christine J.‭ ‬Griffiths‭ & ‬Karl J.‭ ‬Campbell‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.
-‭ ‬Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Chelonian Research Monographs.‭ ‬5‭ (‬First ed.‭)‬.‭ ‬Chelonian Research Foundation.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Anders Rhodin,‭ ‬Peter Pritchard,‭ ‬Peter Paul van Dijk,‭ ‬Raymond Saumure,‭ ‬Kurt Buhlmann,‭ ‬John Iverson,,‭ ‬Russel Mittermeier‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.
-‭ ‬Turtles and tortoises of the world during the rise and global spread of humanity:‭ ‬first checklist and review of extinct Pleistocene and Holocene chelonians.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Chelonian Research Monographs.‭ ‬5‭(‬8‭)‬:000e.1‭–‬66.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Anders G.J.‭ ‬Rhodin,‭ ‬Scott Thomson,‭ ‬Georgios L.‭ ‬Georgalis,‭ ‬Hans-Volker Karl,‭ ‬Igor G.‭ ‬Danilov,‭ ‬Akio Takahashi,‭ ‬Marcelo S.‭ ‬de la Fuente,‭ ‬Jason R.‭ ‬Bourque,‭ ‬Massimo Delfino,‭ ‬Roger Bour,,John B.‭ ‬Iverson,‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Bradley Shaffer‭ & ‬Peter Paul van Dijk‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.
-‭ ‬On the nomenclature of the largest tortoise that ever lived:‭ ‬Megalochelys sivalensis Falconer‭ & ‬Cautley,‭ ‬1837‭ ‬vs.‭ ‬Colossochelys atlas Falconer‭ & ‬Cautley,‭ ‬1844‭ (‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Testudinidae‭)‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature.‭ ‬76‭ (‬1‭)‬:‭ ‬162.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Evangelos Vlachos‭ ‬-‭ ‬2019.


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