Giant of the Ice Age.  A freshwater turtle fossil about 2 meters long was found

Scientists have discovered a new species of powerful turtle dating back several thousand years. Named after one of the heroes of Stephen King's prose.

The Pleistocene world was very different from today. At that time, the Earth was inhabited by animals of enormous sizes. The most famous of these giants are: Mammoths, woolly rhinos, Tasmanian lions, and saber-toothed tigers. Today we can only see them in natural history museums. This makes us realize what extraordinary creatures our ancestors shared the Earth with.

These powerful animals began to become extinct in the late Ice Age, several thousand years ago. People had already spread throughout the world at that time. They also settled in the Amazon region. Those who lived in the humid forests of present-day Brazil may have encountered another giant creature. It was a freshwater turtle with a shell about two meters long.

Scientists from the University of Tübingen described the remains of the previously unknown giant in the journal Biology Letters. A new species of reptile has been named Peltocephalus maturin.

As the researchers found, The turtle lived in what is now the Amazon between 40,000 and 9,000 years ago. Part of his lower jaw has survived to this day. It was found by gold prospectors working in the Tacoras quarry in Porto Velho, Brazil.

Analysis of the remains allowed us to determine when the giant lived and what size it was. Both turned out to be a surprise. Peltocephalus maturin He grew to about 180 cm.

Today's freshwater turtles are much smaller than them. A turtle that lives in Southeast Asia Chitra chitra It has a carapace – the convex part of the shell – which is one and a half meters long. arrowroot (Podocnemis expanded). This river turtle, which lives in the Orinoco, Amazon and its floodplains, can reach a length of about a meter.

The two-meter-long turtle, which lived relatively recently, is a mystery to scientists. Turtles can be strong, but this mostly applies to marine species. Two years ago, the remains of a sea turtle from present-day Spain were discovered, measuring 4 meters long. He walked the earth during the time of the dinosaurs. The largest living turtle is the leatherback, up to two metres. Prefers ocean water to live.

– In the past, we knew only a few freshwater turtles whose shells were longer than 150 cm – explains the doctor. Gabriel S. Ferreira, co-author of the discovery. – These large animals are known mainly since the Miocene – he adds. That is, about 23-5 million years ago.

What else have we learned about the mighty tortoise? It is related to the tortoise that lives in the Amazon today Peltocephalus domerilianus. The modern relative is 3-4 times smaller than its extinct ancestor. Scientists also doubt this The Pleistocene giant was a carnivore.

The name of the newly discovered turtle species – let us remind you: Peltocephalus maturin – may sound familiar to fans of Stephen King's prose. Maturin was inspired by scientists. It is a turtle invented by King and is older than the universe. Who is responsible for creating it?

Maturin Kenga was a wise, kind and gentle being who rarely came out of his shell. But one time, the old turtle was poisoned and had to have his head removed. Once he did that, the universe vomited and then returned to its shell. Maturin appears, among others, in the novel “He”..

sources:, Biology letters, Stephen King fandom.

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