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Archelon

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The Land Before Time species
Species- Archelon

An artist's rendition of the species.

Archelon
Fossil range Late Cretaceous
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Superorder
Order Testudines
Family Protostegidae
Subfamily
Genus Archelon
Species A. ischyros (Wieland, 1896)
Synonyms
TLBT characters of this species Archie

Archelon is a genus of extinct sea turtle, the largest that has ever lived.

Description

Archelon did not have a solid shell like most modern turtles, but a skeletal framework supporting a leathery or bony carapace. It had a pointed tail, a thin skull, a relatively narrow, high-vaulted shell, and a strong overbite. [1] The live weight of an Archelon ischyros was at least 4,900 pounds.

History

The largest Archelon fossil, found in the Pierre Shale of South Dakota in the 1970s, measures more than 13.5 feet (4 meters) long, and about 16 feet wide from flipper to flipper. It was a seagoing turtle, related to present day Leatherback Sea Turtles.[2] Its fossils date to 70 million years ago in the Cretaceous period, when a shallow sea covered most of central North America. Most of the known remains have been found in South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska.[3] Though anatomically similar to the earlier species Protostega gigas, it was much larger.[4]

Classification

Related turtles (Chelonioidea)
Leatherback turtles relatives (Dermochelyoidea)
Protostegidae

Santanachelys

Archelon

other Protostegidae (Notochelone, Desmatochelys)

Leatherback turtles (Dermochelyidae)

Sea turtles (Cheloniidae, now living and fossil species)

Paleobiology

The enormous size of a grown Archelon probably gave it enough protection from being eaten, so the bones could be part of the armor reduced, which facilitated the movement in the water.

They probably had a strong bite and fed on marine mollusks such as squid.[5] The specimen at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna is thought to have lived to be a century old, and may have died while brumating on the ocean floor.[5]

Archelon in The Land Before Time

Several Archelon are seen swimming at the beginning of the first movie. Three Archelon hatchlings are later shown in the pond where Sharptooth ultimately meets his demise. More Archelon are seen in the sequels, including a named individual, Archie. They can be seen in the ending credits of The Great Valley Adventure too. Archelons also appear in The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.

Gallery

References


External links

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