Extra Credit

Partnering with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, we’re offering an enriched educational experience to animate our exhibits. Whether you've scanned this at the museum or found us online, dive deeper into this month's topic and be sure to visit in person for the full experience.

This month's lesson is all about the Protostega Gigas!



The Protostega gigas, showcased at the Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum of Natural History, is a giant among sea turtles. In terms of size, this prehistoric marine reptile dwarfs its modern relatives. With an estimated length of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) and a weight that could exceed 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms), the Protostega gigas stands as one of the largest sea turtles ever discovered.

To put its magnitude into perspective, consider that the Protostega was significantly larger than most modern sea turtles. For comparison, the well-known leatherback sea turtle, the largest living sea turtle species, typically reaches lengths of around 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) and weighs in the range of 550 to 1,500 pounds (250 to 680 kilograms). The Protostega's immense size not only distinguishes it within the context of ancient sea turtles but also emphasizes the extraordinary diversity and adaptations that have shaped the evolutionary history of these fascinating marine creatures.

As visitors gaze upon the fossilized remains of the Protostega at the museum, they are confronted with the sheer scale of this magnificent ancient sea turtle, providing a tangible connection to a time when colossal marine reptiles ruled the prehistoric seas. The exhibit offers a rare opportunity to marvel at the grandeur of a creature that once navigated the oceans with a presence unmatched by its contemporary counterparts.

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Check out our other Extra Credit pages: 
Tyrannosaurus T-Rex
Diplodocus Carnegie [Dippy the Dinosaur]
The Anzu Wyliei