Turtles in Time: From Fossils to the Present is on view in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, February 2 through December 8, 2017. Selected primarily from the collection of David and Jean Hutchison, the exhibition features more than fifty fossil turtle specimens from around the world, dating from the Jurassic to the Pleistocene eras and includes turtles from the present time. The exhibition highlights these amazing animals, draws attention to their complex history, and encourages an understanding about how they are threatened in today’s ecosystems.
Among the most specialized of vertebrates, turtles evolved well over 200 million years ago and have endured as one of the most successful groups of amniotes. Their most obvious feature, the shell, represents a tremendous evolutionary innovation that has ensured their survival but has also set limitations on their form. Despite the wealth of known fossil species, much of the early evolutionary history of the group remains controversial. The exhibition presents several different fossil turtle species and describes their associated environments. Specimens range from a 150-million-year-old Glytops from the Jurassic Morrison Formation in Wyoming to recent Terrapene shells from Pleistocene deposits near Tampa, Florida. Several shells, skulls and even an egg clutch of Stylemys and Gopherus from the Oligocene of South Dakota will also be on display. Rare specimens will include Manchurochelys from Lower Cretaceous deposits in China and Eurysternum from Upper Jurassic deposits in Germany.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website