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Turtles

Archelon

The marine turtles of the Late Cretaceous Period included many large spectacular forms. The largest, Archelon, reached twelve feet in length, with a large head and hooked beak. In spite of its size it was certainly quite fast and capable of the sudden turns which are needed to catch fish. The limbs were modified to serve as powerful paddles, with the front flippers being the major source of locomotion. The head probably could not be withdrawn, however protection for it existed in a series of scutes (bony armour). These ancient turtles bore a resemblance to the modern marine turtles in their outward appearance and form, thus present day turtles could be called "living fossils", because they have changed very little during the past millions of years. In the late 1930's a monstrous specimen was found near Morden, about 10 feet long. Unfortunately, at that time no one knew how to recover it and it was destroyed.