Pronounced (TOKS-UH-KEE-leez lat-ee-ray-mis)
Discovered By: Mike Triebold, 1993
Discovery Location: Lane County, Kansas
Diet: Opportunistic (Omnivore)
Period: Late Cretaceous
Age: 83 million years
Formation: Niobrara Chalk
Length: 2-4 ft
Toxochelys was probably the most abundant turtle in the North American inland seaway. It is a close relative of modern sea turtles. Toxochelys had numerous adaptations which allowed it to glide swiftly through the water: a lighter shell, flattened wrist and ankle bones and front limbs built for flapping rather than walking.
Usually found as partial skeletons ranging in size from 2 to 4 feet long, this Toxochelys is a rare exception. The shell is only about 24 cm (9.5 inches) long, and is the smallest skeleton we have found. This baby Toxochelys is very finely detailed and includes the complete hip and limb structures articulated as in life.
Predation of modern baby sea turtles is so high that if a comparable situation existed in Late Cretaceous times, the likelihood of this skeleton being preserved is minuscule. It is a rare specimen indeed!