Archelon is recognized all over the world as the largest sea turtle!
The fossil remains of this genus have been discovered in parts of the USA such as Wyoming and South Dakota.
The specific site which is known to be rich in Archelon fossils is called the Pierre Shale formation.
The shell and skeleton of this ancient animal have given scientists and paleontologists food for thought throughout the years of its discovery.
Interestingly, the closest living relatives of the Archelon are sea turtles!
The most striking feature of these animals is their sheer might and size.
The flipper to flipper length, as well as the head to tail length, are so enormous that this animal could easily be twice as big as an average human being!
The shell, however, is treated as an object of particular interest because it reveals the dynamic that would have helped the animal in swimming across the oceans.
Interestingly, this animal was so large that the tail alone had 18 vertebrae!
The average Archelon size from head to tail is estimated to have been around 15 ft (4.6 m), while the length from flipper to flipper would be around 13 ft (4 m).
As you can already tell, these animals have been termed the largest sea turtles for the simple reason that they were huge!
The closest living relative species of this animal is a sea turtle. As compared to modern-day sea turtles, the average Archelon would be at least thrice as big!
The average weight of this sea turtle is estimated to have been around 4900 lb (2200 kg).
As is quite evident, a large portion of the weight would have consisted of the humongous shell that this animal carried on its back!
This giant sea turtle, in spite of what may be assumed from the huge shell, only fed on small mollusks and fish.
The beak-like mouth was heavy and equipped to crush the shell of mollusks efficiently.
Paleontologists suggest that the Archelon’s diet would be satisfied very easily as this animal swam through the ocean floor in search of the wide selection of mollusks that were readily available.
The fossil remains of these turtles have mostly been found in South Dakota and Wyoming in the USA.
While this is not sufficient information or evidence to term these turtles as endemic, it may be concluded that most of the population was concentrated in these areas.
The site or formation where the fossils of this turtle (Archelon) genus have been found is called Pierre Shale.
Like modern turtles, the Archelon Ischyros was also an oviparous species.
That is to say that these turtles reproduced by laying eggs.
Similar to how modern turtles lay eggs today, the Archelon ischyros would have had to come out of the water in order to lay eggs on the sandy shores of the seaside.
This would have also made the eggs and hatchlings vulnerable to predation by dinosaurs of the area.
This, in fact, is speculated to have been one of the factors that may have led to the extinction of these beautiful turtles of prehistoric times.
How aggressive were they?While the giant size of these creatures may speak otherwise, it is actually quite improbable that the Archelon would have been an aggressive animal.
The only time that these animals would have been on the ground was during the mating season.