Stupendemys

Name: Stupendemys ‭(‬Astonishing turtle‭)‬.
Phonetic: Stu-pen-dem-iss.
Named By: R.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Wood‭ ‬-‭ ‬1970.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Anapsida,‭ ‬Testudines,‭ ‬Pleurodira,‭ ‬Pelomedusoidea,‭ ‬Podocnemididae.
Species: S.‭ ‬geographicus‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬souzai.
Diet: Uncertain.
Size: Preserved length of carapace of largest individual‭ ‬1.8‭ ‬meters long.‭ ‬Estiamted length of shell up to‭ ‬3.3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Venezeula‭ ‬-‭ ‬Urumaco Formation and Brazil‭ ‬-‭ ‬Solimões Formation.
Time period: Messinian of the Miocene to Zanclean of the Pliocene.
Fossil representation: Remains of two species,‭ ‬including the carapace.

       Stupendemys was a genus of pleurodiran turtle,‭ ‬a type better known as a side-necked turtle.‭ ‬Side necked turtles acquired their name because their necks are so long that the only way they could fit under the shell was to fold their necks into one side.‭ ‬The preserved length of the largest known Stupendemys carapace‭ (‬the upper shell‭) ‬is one hundred and eighty centimetres long,‭ ‬and has been estimated to be as much as three hundred and thirty centimetres long in the living animal.‭ ‬With the addition of the long neck Stupendemys would have been even longer than the famously huge‭ ‬Archelon,‭ ‬a giant sea turtle that lived earlier in the late Cretaceous period.
       Unlike Archelon,‭ ‬Stupendemys was a freshwater turtle,‭ ‬and one that inhabited the river systems and lakes of Northern South America around the boundary of the late Miocene and early Pliocene.‭ ‬The huge size of Stupendemys might be a response to the predatory threats living in South America which included giant crocodiles‭ ‬such as Mourasuchus,‭ ‬Gryposuchus and particularly the caiman-like Purussaurus.‭
       Large pleurodiran turtles seemed to have been very common in the river systems of South America during the Cenozoic,‭ ‬with‭ ‬another example being Carbonemys,‭ ‬a pleurodiran with a shell one hundred and seventy-two centimetres long that lived in South America not long after the dinosaurs went extinct.


Further reading
-‭ ‬Stupendemys geographicus,‭ ‬the world's largest turtle.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Breviora‭ ‬436:1-31.‭ ‬-‭ ‬R.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Wood.‭ ‬-‭ ‬1976.
‭- ‬A cintura pélvica do quelônio Stupendemys‭ (‬Podocnemididae,‭ ‬Podocnemidinae‭) ‬proveniente do Mioceno superior-Plioceno do Estado do Acre,‭ ‬Brasil‭ [‬The pelvic girdle of quelônio Stupendemys‭ (‬Podocnemididae,‭ ‬Podocnemidinae‭) ‬coming from the upper Miocene-Pliocene of the State of Acre,‭ ‬Brazil‭]‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Acta Geologica Leopoldensia,‭ ‬20‭(‬45‭)‬:47-50.‭ ‬-‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Bocquentin‭ & ‬E.‭ ‬Guilherme‭ ‬-‭ ‬1997.
-‭ ‬Stupendemys souzai sp.‭ ‬nov.‭ (‬Pleurodira,‭ ‬Podocnemididae‭) ‬from the Miocene-Pliocene of the Solimões Formation,‭ ‬Brazil.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia‭ ‬9‭(‬2‭)‬:‭ ‬187-192.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Jean Bocquentin‭ & ‬Janira Melo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.





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