New species of prehistoric turtle discovered in Madagascar

A new species of turtle that roamed Earth alongside dinosaurs and flying reptiles has been discovered in Madagascar as reported by abc News. The near-complete fossil of the quick-mouthed frog turtle, or Sahonachelys mailakavava, was found in the Maevarano Formation in northwestern Madagascar, according to a study published in Royal Society Open Science.

The formation “has yielded a series of exceptional fossils” over the last three decades, and in 2015 archaeologists discovered the turtle’s skeleton while removing overburden — rock or soil overlying a mineral deposit — from the formation. The freshwater turtle is noted for its frog-like appearance — an unusually flattened skull, a slender lower jaw and enlarged tongue bones — and researchers said it was likely a “suction feeder” that ate small-bodied living prey, such as insect larvae and tadpoles by using quick strikes. It likely lived during the late Cretaceous period — 66 million to 100.5 million years ago — and would have existed around the same time as the triceratops and the flying reptile pterosaur, researchers said.