More than 6 million years ago, giant turtles roamed the earth. But it wasn't until 2020 that scientists finally found and identified their remains.
The "Stupendemys Geographicus" was first described in the 1970s. Scientists knew this prehistoric turtle was huge. When they finally found its fossils in Venezuela and Columbia, they learned just how huge it was.
The Stupendemys is the largest turtle that has ever lived. Its shell was more than 9 1/2 feet long and its weight more than 2,500 pounds. That is about the same as a mid-size car.
This prehistoric turtle is 100 times bigger than its closest living relative, the big-headed Amazon river turtle.
The Stupendemys turtle may be huge next to turtles of today, but compared to the gigantic crocodiles that shared the same swamps, it wasn't so big. Those prehistoric crocodiles could be as long as 36 feet, 4 times as long as the turtle.
The fossils that were found also showed that male turtles had horns at the front of their shells. These horns were used to fight off enemies, which included those mammoth crocodiles.