Manchurochelys liaoxiensis, fossil turtle
Manchurochelys liaoxiensis, fossil turtle
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Manchurochelys liaoxiensis, fossil turtle

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Manchurochelys liaoxiensis, also known as Ordosemys liaoxiensis, is described as a cryptodire (a turtle order), with a very low domed shell. The carapace, shell, had an oval outline, with the length being slightly longer than the width. Manchurochelys liaoxiensis looked like a modern turtle, but it was a primitive turtle and could not draw its head or legs into its shell. It likely fed on plants, small fish, and insects present in its environment. Manchurochelys liaoxiensis is most closely related to today's snapping turtle.

The Liaoning region, 130 million years ago, was an area crossed by streams and rivers and dotted with fresh water lakes and active volcanoes. The land areas were covered by forests of conifers, similar to today's pine and fir, ginkgoes and ferns. There were very few angiosperms, flowering plants. Marshy areas surrounded the lakes. Based on the plants represented in the fossil record of the area, it suggests that the area around Liaoning was a semiarid environment with a warm but dry climate.

Dinosaurs, mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects shared and competed in the Liaoning ecosystem. The feathered dinosaurs were also present during this time.

The muddy bottoms of the lakes were composed of fine grained volcanic ash. These fined grained sediments are responsible for the preservation of the trees and other plants, reptiles, insects, birds, dinosaurs, and mammals which died in or fell or were washed into the lakes. By being quickly covered with these sediments it allowed for near complete and detailed preservation of the organism.

For a full description of this species: see the AMNH Scientific Publication 2246/2803 which can be found by doing a web search for Manchurochelys liaoxiensis.

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