Rare prehistoric pregnant turtle found in Utah


This undated image provided Montana State University shows CT technician, Tanya Spence preparing to run a 75 million-year-old turtle fossil through a CT scanner at Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman, Mont. Paleontologists say a prehistoric turtle uncovered in a remote area of southern Utah is just the second ever found to still have a clutch of eggs inside. The fossil was found at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2006 but scientists only recently discovered it had eggs inside. Scientists this week are examining CT scan images of the turtle taken in Montana. (AP Photo/Montana State University, Kelly Gorham)

SALT LAKE CITY — Paleontologists say a 75-million-year-old turtle fossil uncovered in southern Utah has a clutch of eggs inside, making it the first prehistoric pregnant turtle found in the United States.

At least three eggs are visible from the outside of the fossil, and Montana State University researchers this week have been studying images taken from a CT scan in search of others inside.

Montana State graduate student Michael Knell says the turtle was probably about a week from laying her eggs when she died and became entombed for millions of years in sandstone.


The fossil was found in 2006 in a remote part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The eggs weren’t discovered until after it sat in storage for two years and was being re-examined by a volunteer.


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