Additional images

Dorset’s own turtle

This turtle is called Dorsetochelys delairi because it was first found in Dorset. It is also a ‘holotype’, meaning it is the specimen used to describe the species. But there is a big problem with turtles; they tend to be found as either skulls, in this case, or shells (carapace) as with most of the fossil turtles on this database. We don’t know which type of shell this skull belongs to.

Justin Delair, after whome this specimen was named (along with Dorset), was the Assistant Curator [Geology] at the Dorset County Museum for much of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1957 he published a major catalogue of the Museum’s Mesozoic Reptiles, which later became the foundation for the Museum’s Accessions Register.  In later years Mr Delair became involved with the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and served as their President for some years.

Find out more on the reptiles page.

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Common name


Scientific name

Dorsetochelys delairi


Vertebrates > Reptiles > Crocodiles and Turtles


Purbeck Limestone Group, Middle

Time period

Lower Cretaceous


142 million years

Where found


Found by



Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Accession number