Now That’s a Fossil: Turtles Died During Sex 47 Million Years Ago

Now That’s a Fossil: Turtles Died During Sex 47 Million Years Ago

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German palaeontologists have dug up the remains of nine turtle pairs that died while mating some 47 million years ago, sinking into poisonous waters while locked in a final embrace, according to a report in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters. The find represents the first-ever fossil record of copulating vertebrates.

“Millions of animals live and die every year and many enter the fossil record through serendipitous circumstances, but there really is no reason to enter the fossil record while you are mating,” co-author Walter Joyce told AFP about the rarity of the find. “The chances of both partners dying at the same time is highly unlikely and the chances of both partners being preserved afterwards even less likely.”

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