A team of scientists has discovered an eight million-year-old turtle shell that apparently belongs to the world's largest turtle. The discovery was made in Venezuela, and researchers believed that the unearthed turtle shell is almost eight feet long.

The giant turtle that lived during Miocene epoch

largest turtle
Graphic reconstruction of the giant turtle Stupendemys geographicus, that lived in Venezuela 8 million years ago Jaime Chirinos

Scientists revealed that this now-extinct turtle named Stupendemys geographicus had lived in the earth during the Miocene epoch, which lasted from 12 million to 5 million years ago.

Researchers in their study report revealed that the Stupendemys geographicus weighed almost 1,145 kilograms, and it is almost a hundred times the size of the Amazon river turtle, its closest relative. It should be also noted that Stupendemys geographicus has twice the size of the marine leatherback, the largest living turtle on the planet. Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra, a senior researcher who led the study revealed that this turtle has gained such a huge size due to warm wetlands and lakes in its habitat.

Male to male combat between these giant turtles

Fossil examinations revealed that male turtles had a horn-like structure on their carapaces. Researchers revealed that these horns were used as weapons during male to male combat. In the study report, researchers noted that male turtles usually engage in fights to proclaim their dominance.

Turtle species that survived the asteroid impact that killed dinosaurs

Another study report had recently suggested that Laurasichersis relicta, a land turtle species had survived the asteroid impact that killed dinosaurs around 66 million years ago. Scientists made this conclusion after unearthing fossils of these turtles from Northern France. Scientists revealed that these turtle fossils were 56 million years old, while the doomsday asteroid hit happened 66 million years ago.

However, the research team failed to give an explanation on how these turtles survived this asteroid impact which resulted in the extinction of more than 75 percent of all species on the earth.