There was a flurry of media excitement last week when it was announced that a prehistoric reptile had been granted a highly auspicious royal title.
The ancient land turtle was named “Basilochelys macrobios, in honour of His Majesty the King” according to The Nation. Drawing on my longstanding expertise with scientific nomenclature, I translated the royal turtle title as follows:
Basilicus (Latin)= royal/kingly
Chelys (Latin) = tortoise/turtle
Macro (Latin) = long
Bios (Greek) = life
So, as The Nation and many other sources pointed out, Basilochelys macrobios can be popularly referred to as the “Long Live the King” turtle.
The Director General of the Mineral Resources Department, Adisak Thongkaimook, helpfully pointed out that the “Long Live the King” species “roamed the Earth about 150 million years ago in the late Jurassic period”. It is now extinct.
For those interested in finding out more about Basilochelys macrobios, and who wouldn’t be, here is a more detailed scientific description:
A large cryptodiran turtle, Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. n. sp. is described from the latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous Phu Kradung Formation of NE Thailand, on the basis of skull, shell and other postcranial elements. Basilochelys presents a combination of primitive and derived characters. The derived characters include sculptured skull roof and shell surface; deeply embedded canalis caroticus internus; foramen posterius canalis carotici interni completely surrounded by pterygoid; neural formula of 6>4<6<6<6<6; anteroposteriorly expanded eleventh and twelfth marginal scutes extending onto the suprapygal and costal plates; narrow vertebral scutes; plastron sutured to the carapace, with large and wide anterior and posterior lobes, long and narrow bridge, very narrow axillary and inguinal notch; wide entoplastron; humeropectoral sulcus located on the posterior part of the entoplastron; anal notch absent. This taxon is placed in Trionychoidae and considered as the most basal member of that group.
I understand that this company has just received a big order from Bangkok.