Testudines Skull Reproductions From Arizona Dry Bones
Turtle Skulls From Arizona Dry Bones

401 North Sierra Vista Drive
Tucson, AZ 85719
email: azdrybones@aol.com

Turtle and Tortoise Reproductions

As Gaffney and Meylan (1988) remarked, "And so we reach God's noblest creature - the turtle." We are proud to be able to offer all 5 genera of sea turtles. The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is listed on the Taxonomic List page. Some skulls are cast with the "beaks" (rhamphothecae) as part of the skull; the Loggerhead has removable beaks, and some are cast without beaks.


Leatherback Sea Turtle
Leatherback Sea Turtle
(Dermochelys coriacica)
    The largest living turtle, the Leatherback reaches a carapace length of nearly 6 feet. Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, this turtle feeds on jellyfish and some tunicates. This magnificent skull was cast from a specimen stranded on the beach in California in 1972, with a carapace length of 59 inches. Specimen provided by the California Academy of Sciences. Length of the skull 9.8 inches.   Price: $130.00

Leatherback Sea Turtle
Fossil Leatherback Sea Turtle
(undescribed species)
    This gigantic skull was found in the Miocene sediments at Sharktooth Hill, California. Length of the skull 18.0 inches.   Price: $220.00

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
(Carreta carreta)
    Noted for the large size of its head relative to the size of the shell, the Loggerhead is found in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Loggerheads feed on fish, jellyfish, sponges, crabs, conchs and sea urchins. Length of the skull 9.4 inches. The skull has been cast separately from the rhamphothecae (beaks), which are removable.   Price $130.00
Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
(Eretemochelys imbricata)

     Also found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Hawksbill reaches a carapace length of slightly over 3 feet. The specimen cast is an Atlantic Hawksbill, Eretemochelys imbricata imbricata from Panama. Length of skull 7.0 inches.   Price $79.00

Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas)
     With races found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, this was the sea turtle from which turtle soup was usually made before they became protected. A turtle with a carapace up to a known maximum of 55 inches, today large individuals are rare, since the populations have been drastically reduced. Skull length: 6.5 inches.    Price: $119.00
Green Sea Turtle


Alligator Snapping Turtle
Alligator Snapping Turtle
(Macroclemmys temmnicki)
     The largest living fresh-water turtle is found in the lower Mississippi River drainage and its larger tributaries and adjacent areas. Growing to more than 30 inches carapace length and weighing as much as 236 pounds, the Alligator Snapper feeds on fish, birds and shellfish. Real skulls were at one time readily available, but dwindling populations have made it necessary to protect the animal, and skulls are no longer available. This skull is cast with the rhamphothecae (beaks) in place. Length of skull is 8.0 inches.
Price: $129.00


Aldabra Tortoise
(Geochelone gigantea)
     The "other" giant island tortoise, the Aldabra is found on Aldabra Island in the Indian Ocean. A thriving population exists there. These tortoises feed on the native vegetation. Length of skull 4.0 inches.   Price: $110.00
Aldabra Tortoise

Galapagos Tortoise
Galapagos Tortoise
(Geochelone elephantopus)
     Now endangered and fast disappearing, the Galapagos Tortoise was at one time quite common; ships sailing the area often provisioned on tortoise meat. Joseph Slevin describes a visit to the islands in 1905 during which he collected 60 skulls in a single day, all from animals that had died previously. We do not know which island or race this specimen represents. Length of skull is 6 inches.   Price $99.00


Mata Mata
(Chelus fimbriata)
     A chelid, or side-necked, turtle, this is the strangest turtle skull of any, living or extinct. It has been described as the "turtle skull run over by a truck" due to its extremely flattened appearance. The turtle uses an enlarged hyoid apparatus as a phyrangeal pump, sucking huge volumes of water into the throat, then squeezing all the water out, leaving just the fish which are its food to be swallowed. We have cast the hyoid apparatus of this spectacular skull as well, and it is included with the skull. Length of skull: 4.0 inches. Length of hyoid apparatus: 7.0 inches.   Price: $89.00
Mata Mata

The classic references to turtle skulls are:

Gaffney, Eugene 1972 "An Illustrated Glossary of Turtle Skull Nomenclature",
American Museum Novitates.
Provides the names for all the bones and features of turtle skulls, with a few illustrations.

Gaffney, Eugene 1979 "Comparative Cranial Morphology of Fossil and Recent Turtles",
American Museum Bulletin Volume 164, Article 2.
Hundreds of illustrations of fossil and living turtle skulls.

The best general references to turtles we have seen are:

Pritchard, Peter 1979 Encyclopedia of Turtles TFH Press.
Hundreds of pictures of living turtles, good discussion of appearance, habits, food, etc. Some information about evolutionary history.

Ernst, C. H. and R. W. Barbour 1989 Turtles of the World
Smithsonian Institution Press.

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Last Updated: June 25, 2011
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