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Keywords:

  • Lithographic Limestone;
  • Swimming Traces;
  • Trackways;
  • Turtle;
  • Upper Jurassic

Exceptional fossilization of large tetrapod swimming traces occurs in the Cerin Lagerstätte (Jura Mountains, France). These trackways are imprinted in Jurassic (Late Kimmeridgian) lagoonal fine-grained limestones and are attributed to giant turtles, which swam with a simultaneous movement of their forelimbs like the modern ones. These turtles swam in very shallow waters close to land, perhaps near a nesting area. As a major consequence, these new ichnologic data place the origin of true large marine turtles during the Jurassic period and not during the Cretaceous period as previously considered on the basis of skeletal remains.