World’s Largest Turtle Shell Ever Photograph: Fact Check


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World's Largest Turtle Shell Ever Photograph
World's Largest Turtle Shell Ever Photograph

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Largest Turtle Shell ever found

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Biggest Turtle Shell Ever Found

Fact Check:

The photograph shared often on social media and image sharing websites purports to show the World’s Largest Turtle Shell Ever Found. However, as described in detail below, the claim is a mixture of hoax and facts.

Really Largest Turtle Shell Ever Found?

Although it looks real, the picture in fact shows fossil replica of carapace (hard upper shell) of Stupendemys Geographicus exhibited at Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga (US). Stupendemys is a prehistoric genus of extinct freshwater Turtle. You can see another clear picture of the large turtle shell replica exhibit below.

Alleged World's Largest Turtle Shell Ever Found Photograph at Tennessee Aquarium
Alleged World’s Largest Turtle Shell Ever Found at Tennessee Aquarium

As a matter of fact, remains of Stupendemys species of Turtles were found in 1972 in the Urumaco Formation of Venezuela and Brazil. Notably, the giant turtle species had carapace lengths well over 3 meters. Stupendemys geographicus is considered the heaviest genus of sea turtles ever documented. Based on the fairly complete shell material found, Wood (1976) described Stupendemys geographicus as the “world’s largest turtle”. In contrast, another extinct species of sea turtles, Archelon is generally considered to be the world’s largest genus of sea turtles. However, it is hard to say which is larger, Archelon or Stupendemys Geographicus (often debated). The largest living sea turtle as of this writing is the Leatherback; it is a closest relative to Archelon.

Similar Fossil Replica of Stupendemys Geographicus Exhibit in Osaka, Japan.
Similar Fossil Replica of Stupendemys Geographicus Exhibit in Osaka, Japan.

Significantly, similar fossil replica of Stupendemys geographicus carapace is in Osaka City of Japan (exhibit above). On the other hand, you can see below the truly giant Stupendemys geographicus skeleton hanging at American Museum of Natural History. FYI, Stupendemys is a side-necked turtle species with necks so long that they must fold their necks into one side to fit under their shells.

Picture: Stupendemys Geographicus Skeleton at American Museum of Natural History
Stupendemys Geographicus Skeleton at American Museum of Natural History

Hoax or Fact:

Mixture of Hoax and Facts.


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