Temporal Range: Middle Triassic (239.5-223.4 Mya)
Length: 0.9 metres
– Discovery: Placochelys is a member of the placochelyid family of placodonts. The first fossil specimen was recovered in 1902 from Hungary in Europe. Since then, a number of Placochelys fossils have been recovered from across central Europe, specifically from Germany, Austria and Italy.
– Description: Placochelys was one of the smallest placodonts to have ever lived, with the largest recovered specimen measuring less than one metre in length. Of all the placodonts, Placochelys looked the most similar to the modern day sea turtle. It had a flat shell, smaller in size than the one found on Cyamodus. The shell itself was covered with a number of bony osteoderms and would have acted as a defence mechanism from predators.
The skull of Placochelys was incredibly compact and robust. It is likely that the mouth was a predominantly toothless horny beak, lined with just a handful of specialised broad teeth. The animals jaw muscles were extremely strong, meaning Placochelys was extremely efficient at crushing shellfish.
The limbs of Placochelys were paddled-shaped and would have been used to propel the animal through the water. However, unlike the modern sea turtle, Placochelys still had distinct toes. It also had a fairly short, stocky tail.
(Restoration Source: http://dinopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Placochelys)