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You are here News Science Ancient sea turtle reveals pigment-based survival trait at least 54 million years old

Ancient sea turtle reveals pigment-based survival trait at least 54 million years old

Turtle 54 million years old Scientists have recovered beta-keratin and muscle proteins from the remains of an ancient sea turtle hatchling, proving modern sea turtles' pigment-based survival trait emerged at least 54 million years ago.

The turtle specimen was originally recovered from Jutland, Denmark, in 2008, and is representative of the Tasbacka danica species, which lived during the Eocene period, between 56 and 34 million years ago.

Recently, scientists were able to recover preserved tissue from the turtle remains. Biomolecular analysis revealed the presence of beta-keratin and muscle proteins, suggesting sea turtles have had dark-colored shells since at least the beginning of the Eocene.

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