Thursday, 4 June 2020


A beautifully articulated Basilemys turtle forelimb with osteoderms on the palmar surface. This specimen is from outcrops in the Kaiparowits Formation of Utah, USA.

Basilemys is an extinct genus of early terrestrial or land turtles belonging to the family Nanhsiungchelyideae. They had a carapace similar in shape to aquatic turtles but limps and beak closer to terrestrial herbivores.

Today, these lovelies live in the Hell Creek floodplains munching on bits of grass and swamp plants. They are ectotherms, cold-blooded, reptiles and amniotes — they breathed air and did not lay eggs underwater but came to shore similar to modern turtles. They are known from Cretaceous deposits in North America and Asia. We've got some lovely examples from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta and the Sustut Basin in northern British Columbia. Fossil remains of Basilemys have also been found in Saskatchewan, China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, the United States in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Uzbekistan from 144 collections and 152 occurrences. Photo credit: Joe Sertich