Story: Native plants and animals – overview

Fossil turtle find

Fossil turtle find

Teacher Jane Hill shows where she found fossils of a 33-million-year-old marine turtle, at Whareora, Northland. The fossils were from a member of the family Cheloniidae, previously known only from western Europe. The division between sea life and terrestrial life blurs with some species – marine turtles come ashore to breed. When this turtle was alive, northern New Zealand had a marginally tropical climate, and the turtle may have bred ashore. Today, five marine turtle species are found in New Zealand waters, but none breed ashore.

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Northern Advocate
Reference: 24 December 2005
Photograph by John Stone

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How to cite this page:

Bob Brockie, 'Native plants and animals – overview - Species unique to New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 March 2018)

Story by Bob Brockie, published 24 Sep 2007