Puppigerus (Greek derivation uncertain); pronounced PUP-ee-GEH-russ
Shallow seas of North America and Eurasia
Early Eocene (50 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 3 feet long and 20-30 pounds
Large eyes; flippered front legs
Although Puppigerus was far from the biggest prehistoric turtle that ever lived, it was one of the best-adapted to its habitat, with unusually large eyes (to gather in as much light as possible) and a jaw structure that prevented it from inhaling water. As you may already have guessed, this early Eocene turtle subsisted on marine vegetation; its relatively undeveloped hind limbs (its front legs were much more flipper-like) indicate that it spent a significant amount of time on dry land, where females laid their eggs.