Artist's reconstruction of a Cretaceous turtle sunning itself on a log with its front and back legs outstretched.

Click to zoom.

Turtle shell pieces are another common fossil in the Cretaceous clays of Maryland, probably due to their durability. Fossil hip and limb and bones have also been found. One turtle species, Arundelemys (uh-RUN-dell-EM-ese), is known from a nearly complete skull. We think that these turtles lived in ponds rather than on dry land because the shell is flatter and smoother than the highly domed, rough shells of land-dwelling tortoises.

This turtle shell fragment is quite flat, and the surface is covered with low, irregular bumps.

Turtle shell fragment. Click to zoom.

A computer image made from a CT Scan performed on an Arundelemys skull. You can see a large round opening for the eye, and a smaller opening for the nose at the front of the skull. The lower jaw is missing.

CT Scan of a fossil skull from the Cretaceous turtle species Arundelemys. Click to zoom. Image courtesy of DigiMorph.org

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