Named By: N. Bardet, N.-E. Jalil, F. Lapparent Broin, D. Germain, O. Lambert & M. Amaghzaz - 2013.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Testudines, Cryptodira, Dermochelyoidae, Dermochelyidae.
Species: O. bouyai (type).
Size: Holotype skull 70 centimetres long.
Known locations: Morocco.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial skull.
Ocepechelon is a fascinating genus of sea turtle for two reasons. First, with a skull that was seventy centimetres long, Ocepechelon must have been huge, but unfortunately without a shell and/or post cranial skeleton we don’t know how big. Second, the mouth of Ocepechelon is formed into a pipette-like feature which suggests that Ocepechelon may have been a suction feeder or some kind. We don’t yet know what Ocepechelon was eating, but living relatives such as Dermochelys, better known as the leatherback turtle, are known to eat jellyfish. Perhaps Ocepechelon was swimming into swarms of small soft bodied jellyfish, sucking them up as it casually swam by.
- A Giant Chelonioid Turtle from the Late Cretaceous of Morocco with a Suction Feeding Apparatus Unique among Tetrapods. - PLoS One 8(7):e63586. - N. Bardet, N.-E. Jalil, F. Lapparent Broin, D. Germain, O. Lambert & M. Amaghzaz - 2013.