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COMPLETE  & INTACT 5.75 INCH PLEISTOCENE FOSSIL BOX TURTLE SHELL WITH INTACT FUSED VERTEBRA

Santa Fe River, Florida

LATE PLEISTOCENE PERIOD:  100,000 - 10,000 years ago

This is a remarkably well-preserved carapace of the BOX TURTLE Terrapene carolina.  It was collected from the Santa Fe River from a Pleistocene peat layer which explains its beautiful color and uncommon preservation.  The entire carapace is in PERFECT condition with NO REPAIR and NO RECONSTRUCTION OR FABRICATION.  The carapace has only been treated with paleontological hardener.  Size is large on this fully grown adult specimen.  Very rare is the intact fused vertebra that can be seen in the last photos above.  This makes for a rare and uncommon TURTLE FOSSIL as most fossil turtle shells require extensive rebuilding of the pieces and fabrication where the parts are missing.  Unlike nearly all fossil turtle carapaces, this shell is AS FOUND.

The oldest fossil turtles found date back to the Triassic Period in Germany with Progaochelys and Proterocheris.  Before the end of the Cretaceous Period, most modern turtle groups existed with representatives in existence.  Florida's oldest fossil ever found is a marine turtle dating to the Cretaceous.  Portions of the creature were collected 9210 feet below the surface of Okeechobee County during well-drilling in 1955.  

Turtles have highly specialized anatomy for living in their environment.  The upper carapace is formed from the fusing of individual bony elements.  Thoracic vertebra are fused to the inside of the upper carapace.  The underside flat portion of the shell is called the PLASTRON.  The overall shape of the carapace indicates the environment in which the turtle or tortoise lived in.  High-domed shells indicate land-dwelling species while low-domed shells are more hydrodynamic and indicate an aquatic life.  Even though the do not possess teeth, most turtles are carnivores.  

The Box turtle is a partially aquatic turtle that spends most of its life on dry land near shallow fresh water.  A woody grassland area with dry sandy soil on top and humid earth beneath is also needed for their survival.  The American box turtle can be found today in eastern, central and southwestern United States and in the northern parts of Mexico.  The majority of their life is spent foraging for food on land.  To keep away from predators, they build their homes in burrows under fallen trees or rocks.  When they are young, they are omnivorous but as they reach adulthood they eat mostly vegetation.  The Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina, is a woodland species found in the eastern and central United States.  There are records of Box turtles living for 80 - 100 years but most live around 30 years.  

What makes box turtles so unique is the hinge in the plastron.  This allows them to completely withdraw their legs, tail, head and neck within the shell for protection from predators hence the name, BOX TURTLE.  If a predator attempts to eat a box turtle, it will not find anything to nip at.  The sturdy shell protects the turtle until its enemy gets frustrated and goes away.  This feature is not true of aquatic turtles.  A few aquatic turtles have hinged plastrons, but most do not as they are almost always near water, which allows them a quick escape from danger.

TRULY A ONE-OF-A-KIND SPECIMEN FOR THE COLLECTOR DEMANDING THE UNCOMMON AND RARE!

5.75" long

SOLD     MV14-007     Actual Item - One Only

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