Archaeologists in Italy's Pompeii have discovered the remains of an ancient pregnant tortoise that sought refuge in the ruins of a home destroyed by an earthquake in AD62.

Iran PressEurope: Archaeologists found the reptile's remains buried under ash and rock where it had laid undiscovered since 79AD.

The 14cm (5.5in) long Hermann's tortoise and her egg were discovered during excavations of an area of the ancient city that, after being leveled by the quake, was being rebuilt for the construction of public baths, officials said Friday. Pompeii was then destroyed after the volcanic eruption in AD79.

Archaeologists suspect that the tortoise, a species that is common in southern Europe, sought refuge in the rubble of a home that was too badly damaged by the quake to be rebuilt.

The director of the Pompeii archaeological park, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, said the fact that the animal still had her egg suggested she died before finding a safe, hospitable place to lay it.


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