How Do You Tell If A Turtle Shell Is A Fossil?

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Have you spotted a turtle shell in your backyard? Wondering whether it is fossilized? Here is how to identify a turtle shell fossil.

Tap The Turtle Shell Fragment On Another Piece. If You Hear A Ting Sound, The Shell Is Fossilized. Again, You Can Hold The Shell Piece To Your Tongue. The Fossils Stick To The Tongue When You Move Them Away. Finally, A Fossil Shell Will Not Burn When Held In Flames.

Get more into a turtle shell fossil below.

Key Takeaways

  • Turning a turtle shell into a fossil takes 10,000 and even more years.
  • Click test, lick method, and burn technique are effective in identifying a fossil.

3 Ways To Identify A Turtle Shell Fossil

Well, identifying a turtle shell fossil is easier than you think. No other reptile or animal on the planet inherits a shell like a turtle.

Yes, you may become confused between a turtle and a tortoise shell. The simplest trick is to observe the shell structure.

Generally, tortoises have a more rounded and domed-like shell. On the contrary, turtles have a thinner hydro-dynamic shell.

Now that you have identified a buried turtle shell, how can you tell if it is fossilized? A lab test will give you the confirmed report. But there are some handy tricks to get a quick result. Such as,

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1. Click Test

Any fossil part becomes porous and hollow. So you will hear a ‘ting’ sound when tapping the shell with a bone. Apparently, there are controversies regarding the validity of this method.

2. Lick Test

As I have said, the fossilized shell pieces will be hollow and porous. Experts advise slightly licking the fossil fragments. The fossil shell pieces will stick to the tongue.

3. Burn Test

There will be no collagen present on a fossil shell. Hence, try to burn the piece with a simple fire. The shell is not fossilized yet if you notice an intolerable damp scent. The fossil shells do not burn.

How Long Does It Take To Fossil A Turtle Shell?

You can not say the exact timeframe required to fossil a turtle shell. In general, it takes hundreds or thousands of years to fossilize a large animal.

Turtles are smaller in size. Yet, the shells will take centuries to turn into a fossil. Factors that affect the process are burial technique, soil pressure, temperature, etc.

Well, you can not fossil your turtle shell in your lifetime. But bury the turtle properly, and your descendant will witness a valuable fossil turtle shell.

What Is The Oldest Turtle Shell Fossil?

Turtle fossils have been discovered now and then. These pieces provide the palaeontologists with valuable information on the past weather, geography, and soil. Besides, the professionals find out more about the turtle and their history.

The oldest turtle shell fossil is recorded back to 220 million years old. It belongs to Odontochelys semitestacea. This turtle species is known as a toothed turtle with a half shell.

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Where Can You Get A Turtle Shell Fossil?

There are collector shops that sell turtle shell fossils. The rate can exceed $10,000, depending on the rarity. You can keep an eye on eBay or Craiglist to get a hot deal on the fossil items.

But here is one thing to remember. Collecting sea turtle shells or bones in any condition is illegal. Also, buying or selling fossils is a crime in many states. Therefore, read your state law before making any transactions.

Before You Go…

You can not expect toughness and hardness from a fossil turtle shell. These carapaces and plastrons are usually brittle and fragile. Get an idea of the hardness of turtle shells from the attached link.

How Hard Is A Turtle Shell? [More Than You Thought]

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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