HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Turtle fossil. Rock containing a fossil (black) of an Apalone sp. (formerly Trionyx sp.) turtle. The head is at upper left, and the four skeletal legs are seen around the central shell. The Apalone turtles, also called soft-shelled turtles, first appeared in the Jurassic period (200-146 million years ago). They have survived to modern times, and are found in parts of North America and Asia, and in northern Africa. Fossils appear as rock slowly forms around objects buried in mud. As the rock forms, the shape and anatomy of buried plants and animals can be preserved.
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