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ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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ARCHELON


ANATOMY
Archelon was huge marine turtle (a chelonian) that was the size of a car. It lived during the time of the dinosaurs, but it was not a dinosaur. This carnivore was about 10-13 feet (3-4 m) long. Archelon had a wide, flattened shell, paddle-like legs, a long, narrow head, weak jaws, and a short, pointed tail. Archelon, like other anapsids, had a solidly-roofed skull with no opening (except for eyes, and nostrils).

Archelon's shell was not like that of modern-day turtles; it did not have the numerous shell bones of modern-day tortoises. Archelon's back probably had a leathery covering or horny plates over a bony framework on its back.

DIET
Archelon was a carnivore (meat-eater). It had very weak jaws and a toothless beak; it may have eaten jellyfish.

LOCOMOTION
Archelon swam using its paddle-like flippers.

WHEN ARCHELON LIVED
Archelon lived during the late Cretaceous period.

DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Archelon lived in the seas in what is now North America; fossils have been found in Kansas and South Dakota, USA.

CLASSIFICATION
Archelon belonged to the Class Reptilia (reptiles), Order Chelonia (turtles, tortoises and terrapins), Suborder Cryptodira, Family Protostegidae (sea turtles from the late Cretaceous period with flippers and minimal shells), Genus Archelon.

ANCESTRY
The earliest turtles belonged to the family Proganochelyidae, primitive tortoises that lived during the Triassic period, evolving about 215 million years ago.

Archelon, other turtles (chelonians), and reptiles may have descended from captorhinids, primitive anapsids that lived during the Early Carboniferous period, about 340 million years ago and went extinct at the end of the Triassic period, about 250 million years ago. Captorhinids They had four sprawling legs and a long tail and evolved from amphibians.



Information Sheets About Dinosaurs
(and Other Prehistoric Creatures)

Just click on an animal's name to go to that information sheet. If the dinosaur you're interested in isn't here, check the Dinosaur Dictionary or the list of Dinosaur Genera. Names with an asterisk (*) were not dinosaurs.
How to write a great dinosaur report.

For dinosaur printouts, click here.

For brief dinosaur fact sheets, click here.




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