Under the shell
This is the earliest known specimen of the turtle genus Hylaeochelys from Europe. Unlike most other turtles in our database, this example is preserved with most of the carapace (shell) missing. What we see instead are the flattened vertebrae and ribs that once supported the scutes that formed the carapace. Bottom left is a piece of the plastron, the lower shell. Bottom right is a limb bone. Towards the centre, top, is a section of the lower jaw.
The fossil was found split in two, with one section in a block of stone weighing about eight tonnes, and the other in a smaller block weighing about five tonnes! Luckily Albion Stone, who operate the quarry, had the equipment to handle and cut down such large blocks to manageable pieces. Once that was done, the fossil was stuck back together and prepared by Dave Costin in Lyme Regis.
Find out more on the reptiles pages.