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Fossil find turns out to be new member of world's oldest soft-shell turtle family

Seven fossilized shell fragments unearthed in Fukuoka Prefecture more than 20 years ago belong to the world's oldest genus of soft-shell turtle, officials at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum said Jan. 22.

Fossil find turns out to be new member of world's oldest soft-shell turtle family
An artist’s rendition of the ancient Adocus sengokuensis turtle
 [Credit: Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum/Mami Osatomi]
Researchers in a joint study between the Fukui facility and the Kita-Kyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History found that the turtle is a new species of the extinct Adocus genus, which is believed to have lived from the early Cretaceous to the late Eocene epoch (about 125 million to 34 million years ago) in Asia and North America.

The discovered pieces will be invaluable in studying the evolution of the aquatic creatures, the officials added.

Fossil find turns out to be new member of world's oldest soft-shell turtle family
Fossil shell fragments from Adocus sengokuensis 
[Credit: Keibu Horikawa]
The shell fragments were found in Miyawaka, Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1994 in the Sengoku formation dating to the latter half of the early Cretaceous Period (about 120 million to 110 million years ago), the final segment of the Mesozoic Era.

The researchers thus named the new turtle species Adocus sengokuensis.

The fossil pieces will be on display at the Kita-Kyushu museum from late January to early March.

Author: Keibu Horikawa | Source: The Asahi Shimbun [January 23, 2015]
TANN

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