Photo courtesy of Naturmuseum Senckenberg.

Scientists in Germany have found fossils of turtles mating that are nearly 50 million years old. That makes them the oldest fossils of vertebrates going at it that we’ve found so far. I think this sort of thing needs more exposure in schools. Hey, kids: go into paleontology, and your big discovery could be ancient turtle porn!

We’re not just talking about isolated turtle-on-turtle action — what scientists found in this German pit was nothing short of a chelonian orgy. Scientists analyzed nine turtle pairs, which is more than you get on the dance floor at the average turtle frat party. Apparently the lake that once occupied the pit was something of a death trap, sort of like Lover’s Lane in a horror movie — you go there to bone, you die. Turtles would start mating in the water, but would eventually sink down to lower levels, where they would face “deadly volcanic gases or other toxins.” And if that doesn’t get you in the mood, what does?

No word yet on whether mass turtle-humping disrupted air travel in the Eocene epoch.

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