Manchurochelys liaoxiensis is described as a cryptodire (a turtle order), with a very low domed shell. The carapace, shell, had an oval outline, with the length being slightly longer than the width. Manchurochelys liaoxiensis looked like a modern turtle, but it was a primitive turtle and could not draw its head or legs into its shell. It likely fed on plants, small fish, and insects present in its environment. Manchurochelys liaoxiensis is most closely related to today’s modern snapping turtle. The Liaoning region, 130 million years ago, was an area crossed by streams and rivers and dotted with fresh water lakes and active volcanoes. The land areas were covered by forests of conifers, similar to today’s pine and fir, ginkgoes and ferns. There were very few angiosperms, flowering plants. Marshy areas surrounded the lakes. Based on the plants represented in the fossil record of the area, it suggests that the area around Liaoning was a semiarid environment with a warm but dry climate.