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Alabama NewsCenter — New species of giant fossil turtle discovered in Alabama

| August 20, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

By Alabama NewsCenter Staff

A team of scientists has discovered a new species of freshwater turtle that lived alongside dinosaurs 83 million years ago. The scientists who made this discovery are Andrew Gentry of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile; James Parham of California State University, Fullerton; and Caitlin Kiernan of McWane Science Center in Birmingham.

The official name of the turtle is Appalachemys ebersolei in honor of Alabama paleontologist Jun Ebersole. The fossilized remains were found in southern Alabama during the mid-1980s and held at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa for more than 30 years before being recognized as significant by Parham, the museum’s former curator.

“I was aware of the specimen for more than a year after becoming curator but never examined it closely because it was mislabeled as a common species,” Parham said. “When I finally opened the cabinet where it was stored, I knew immediately that it was important. I’ll never forget that moment.”

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