This is the first time any scientists has even uncovered vertebrates in the act while frozen. There are nine pairs of fossils that have been identified by various features such as their tails.
The fossils were found in the Messil Pit near Darmstadt, Germany, and they suspect that the two specimens were hit by a poisonous gas that crept out of the volcanic crater. The turtles were identified as an extinct species, by Dr. Walter Joyce, known as Allaeochelys Crasseculpta, but the odd thing was that each turtle had both a male and female part. The turtles had a shell that is almost a foot in length and more than a foot wide. The males had longer tails however, where as the females had much shorter tails that wouldn’t have been completely visible.
Dr Joyce said: “We demonstrate for the first time all couples contain one male and one female individual and the tails of some males are aligned with those of the female.”
The findings about the volcanic gases linking to the vertebrate fossils were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
“Here, we report numerous pairs of the fossil turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta that represent for the first time among fossil vertebrates couples that perished during copulation. In our opinion, it is implausible that the A. crassesculpta couples found at Messel would actively swim, court and finally mate in poisonous surface waters or ingest poisonous surface waters only while mating.