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Jurassic turtle massgrave found in China

1,800 fossilised turtle skeletons from the Jurassic China swept into a mass grave millions of years ago.
Credit:  
University of Tubingen  |  Huge Deposit of Jurassic Turtle Remains Found in China    |   11-01-2012
The fossilized mesa chelonia turtles were found in China's northwest province of Xinjiang in what paleontologists call a "bone bed" with some of the shells stacked up on top of each other in the rock.
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This site has probably more than doubled the known number of individual turtles from the Jurassic

—Walter Joyce, University of Tubingen

Some 160 million years ago, these turtles (identified as a species in the genus Annemys) likely had gathered in one of the remaining waterholes during a very dry period, awaiting rain, which apparently came too late, the researchers say. When all the water left in the hole dried up, the turtles died.

The large number of turtles allows the researchers to make a first statistical analysis of Asian turtles in the Jurassic period. Their simultaneous death and preservation makes it possible to compare variability, growth, and morphological differences among the species.

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