Wed 19 Nov, 2008 11:09 am
The earliest turtles known to live in water have been discovered on a Scottish island.
The 164 million-year-old reptile fossils were found on a beach in southern Skye, off the UK's west coast.
The new species forms a missing link between ancient terrestrial turtles and their modern, aquatic descendants.
The discovery of Eileanchelys waldmani, which translates as "the turtle from the island", is reported in the Royal Society journals.
The turtles were found embedded in a block of rock at the bay of Cladach a'Ghlinne, on the Strathaird peninsula.
It contained four well-preserved turtle skeletons, and the remnants of at least two others.
Together, these are the most complete Middle Jurassic turtles described to date.
Sorry Walter. They need to be in a specific configuration to be important.
What we are looking for a the fossilised remains of 4 elephants in the strata above the turtles. Then a sequence of turtles, each one below that in a direct line up to the elephants.
There may not be a final turtle in the progression; "It's turtles all the way down, young man!".