Oct 23, 2015 12:45 AM EDT
Pig snouted turtle fossil found in Utah
A fossil of a pig-snouted turtle was discovered in Utah recently, USA Today reports.
A group from the Natural History Museum of Utah found the 76 million years ago fossil in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kanab, Utah.
The new species of turtle is called Arvinachelys goldeni, whose Latin genus name literally translates to "bacon turtle" because its wide bony snout gives it a pig nose appearance.
This new species is described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by Joshua Lively of the University of Texas at Austin, who calls this animal "one of the weirdest turtles that ever lived", Forbes reports.
Joshua studied the fossil as part of his master's thesis at the University of Utah.
"I've seen a lot of turtle skulls, and my initial impression was that looked very different that any other turtle skull I've seen," Lively said."It was bizarre."
The strange looking fossil has two bony nasal openings, unlike the typical turtle fossil that only has one bony opening for the nostrils. It measures two feet from head to tail.
Arvinacheyls lived alongside the dinosaurs like tyrannosaurs and duck-billed hadrosaurs. The streamlined shell of Arvinacheyls indicates it spent a significant amount of time gracefully sliding though the water, Forbes reports.
Lively found this new species is a member of a group called baenids, an extinct freshwater group of turtles that lived in the Cretaceous of North America.
"It really helps add to the story emerging from dinosaur research carried out at the Natural History Museum of Utah", said Lively, according to Forbes.
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