And he's not even that old.
By Carolina Fioratti
14 Feb 2020, 7:57 PM
If you think the Galapagos tortoises are the biggest of all, we’re sorry to inform you that you’re wrong. Between 13 and 7 million years ago (very little time on a geological scale), the Stupendemys geographicus, a turtle that could reach four meters and weigh 1.25 tons, inhabited the region.
And now, scientists have found a (huge) fossil of the animal. The records were in the Tatacoa desert (Colombia) and in the Urumaco region (Venezuela), which at the time were a tropical forest – a proto-Amazon, say.
Stupendemys, as the name suggests, is really great. Just to give you an idea, the new fossil is 100 times bigger than its closest relative, the Amazonian big-headed turtle. Check out the photo of the hull, compared to the body of Venezuelan paleontologist Rodolfo Sanchez, one of those involved in the discovery:
The males of the species were probably quite quarrelsome. They were equipped with large horns embedded in their hooves close to the neck, these were their weapons in disputes over territory and the heart of the females. They, in turn, did not have this "extra".
By analyzing the remains of the jaw, researchers were able to guess what the animal's diet was. He had no freshness, he fed on fish, alligators, snakes and mollusks, but he also did not dispense with fruits and seeds.
But at the bottom of the rivers and lakes in which they lived, they were not alone and had size as their main ally in the fight against predators. They shared the waters with giant crocodiles, such as Purussauro and Gryposuchus, which reached, respectively, eleven and ten meters in length.
Considering the animal as a whole, and not just the hoof we saw in the image, Colombian paleontologist Edwin Cadena told the The Guardian that "The largest individuals of this species were the size of a large car, if we take into account the head, the neck, the hull and the limbs." Fear.