The largest freshwater turtle known to have ever lived!
Stupendemys Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Stupendemys geographica
Stupendemys Physical Characteristics
up to 110 years
1145 kg
Stupendemys Distribition

The astoundingly huge Stupendemys geographica (previously referred to as Stupendemys geographicus) is an extinct freshwater turtle. It was located in South America throughout the Miocene period and is believed to be the biggest freshwater turtle species ever before to have actually lived. Just one well-known turtle species was bigger, however it stayed in the sea. The covering of the Stupendemys was approximately the dimension of a cars and truck. Initial uncovered in 1972, researchers called this stupendous animal for its massive dimension.

Stupendous Stupendemys Truths

  • Stupendemys geographica was among several large animal species that stayed in South America countless years back.
  • The Stupendemys turtle stayed in a massive freshwater marsh that covered a lot of the north component of South America, consisting of components of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.
  • Aspects consisting of a massive environment, bountiful food, and stress from large predators all had a duty in the massive development of this species.
  • The all-natural predators of the Stupendemys turtle were crocodilians that expanded over 33 feet long – the size of a common college bus.
  • The biggest well-known Stupendemys had a shell approximately 11 feet long.
  • Based upon lately located fossils, scientists think this turtle might have lived as long as 110 years prior to reaching its complete dimension.
  • The name, Stupendemys, implies stupendous turtle.

Summary and Dimension

Stupendemys geographicus
Stupendemys geographicus fossil.Ryan Somma/Flickr – Certificate

Stupendemys geographica can not be explained without referencing its large dimension. It is, nevertheless, believed to be the biggest freshwater turtle that ever before lived.

Researchers that have actually examined the animal most often reference its straight shell size when reviewing its dimension. That is, basically, the straight size from the leading edge of the turtle’s covering, where its neck arises, to the back side, where its tail protrudes. The dimension is not used up and over the rounded side of the shell. Likewise, it does not consist of the size of the turtle’s head, neck, tail or feet.

The straight shell size of the Stupendemys varies from around virtually 11 feet. That’s approximately the size of a subcompact auto, which’s simply the covering.

Utilizing price quotes based upon the straight shell size and various other elements, scientists approximated the mass of the biggest well-known S. geographica sampling. Price quotes differ based upon the approach made use of, however scientists state the turtle most likely had a mass of greater than 2,500 extra pounds. The just well-known turtle that was bigger was the Archelon sea turtle.

A group of researchers in 2007 did comprehensive study on the bone framework of the Stupendemys, contrasting it to various other living turtles and tortoises. They located that S. geographica was sexually dimorphic. Males had horn- like outcroppings on the front of the shell, which they potentially made use of for battling.

They likewise located that the shell was extra squashed than rounded and was reasonably light-weight. This was because of the cancellous or squishy framework of the bone itself. This exploration clarified why the turtle was especially well fit for swimming in fresh water, where the absence of salt lowers buoyancy.

Diet – What Did Stupendemys Eat?

Researchers today do not have the advantage of examining tummy materials or observing the behaviors of an extinct animal in the wild. They need to count on various other techniques to identify what the Stupendemys consumed. They do have a variety of hints based upon the dimension of the S. geographica head and the development of its huge jaws and teeth.

Based upon the significant head and solid jaw of this turtle, researchers think that the species consumed a wide range of fish, mollusks, serpents, and various other reptiles. Scientists likewise think that the solid jaw of the Stupendemys permitted it to eat all type of seeds and fruits.

Based upon the nutritional behaviors of its closest living loved one, the large- headed Amazon river turtle, researchers think that S. geographica might have been accountable for distributing the seeds of a varied variety of plants throughout its South American marsh house.

Environment – When and Where Stupendemys Lived

Stupendemys geographica stayed in a large marsh that covered a lot of modern-day South America from around 13 million years ago to regarding 5 million years back, throughout the Miocene period and right into the Pliocene period. The very first S. geographica sampling, explained in 1972, was discovered in Venezuela. Scientist uncovered succeeding samplings in Venezuela, and later on in Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.

Wetlands covered much of the continent prior to the waters declined to the Amazon and Orinoco river containers. These rivers were extensive and interconnected. Scientists think that such an environment had the ability to sustain the development not just of significant people, however of whole species all at once. Lots of species that stayed in the location at the time were massive, consisting of theStupendemys Fossils of ancient titans have actually been located over broad- varying locations of South America where the marshes when were.

Hazards and Predators

Among the elements believed to have actually influenced the dimension of the Stupendemys is its communication withpredators S. geographica shared an environment with large crocodilians such as the Gryposuchus and the Purussaurus, These beasts can expand to be greater than 10 meters in size. That has to do with the dimension of a common 72- guest college bus!

Fossil proof shows that these turtles birthed the burden of savage strikes from those huge crocodilians. Some samplings had bite marks from predative experiences. An additional sampling located lately had a large ingrained tooth in the bottom of its shell. S. geographica needed to advance to a fantastic dimension as a way of survival for the species.

Discoveries and Fossils – Where Was Stupendemys Found?

A team of scientists, led by Roger Conant Timber, were the very first to find Stupendemys fossils in 1972. They were amazed by the dimension of the species, which was bigger than any type of freshwater turtles ever before understood. Timber released a comprehensive account of the team’s searchings for in the April 1976 version of Brevoria, the journal of the Harvard College Gallery of Relative Zoology.

Researchers later on located extra fossils throughout the north component of South America. They varied from Venezuela to Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. Brazilian researchers explained a 2nd species, Stupendemys souzai in 2006. This whole area was when covered by a comprehensive and interconnected lake and marsh system referred to as the Pebas System. One of the most current samplings were located in 2020. They originated from what is currently the Tatacoa desert of Colombia and the Urumaco area of Venezuela.

Termination – When Did Stupendemys Pass Away Out?

Stupendemys geographica endured much of the Miocene period right into the Pliocene period. It came to be extinct as lately as regarding 5 million years back. Scientists think that environment modification and the draining pipes of the marsh system that covered north South America caused the termination of the species.


  1. Scheyer, T.M. and Sanchez-Villagra, M.R., Available here:
  2. Cadena, et al., Available here:
  3. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Available here:
  4. Bocquentin, J. and Melo, J., Available here:

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