How Did the Turtle Get It's Shell? - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-26-2008, 05:52 PM   #1
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How Did the Turtle Get It's Shell?

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A newly discovered fossil from China has shed light on how the turtle's shell evolved.

The 220 million-year-old find, described in Nature journal, shows that the turtle's breast plate developed earlier than the rest of it's shell.
The breast plate of this fossil was an extension of its ribs, but only hardened skin covered its back.

Researchers say the breast plate may have protected it while swimming.
The turtle fossil, found near Guangling in south-west China, is thought to be the ancestor of all modern turtles, although it differs markedly; it has teeth rather than a bony plate, the shell only covers its underside and it has a long tail.

The fossil find helps to answer key questions about the evolution of turtles, Dr Xiao-Chun Wu from the Canadian Museum of Nature was one of the first to examine the fossil.

"Since the 1800s, there have been many hypotheses about the origin of the turtle shell," explained Dr. Wu. "Now we have these fossils of the earliest known turtle. They support the theory that the shell would have formed from below as extensions of the backbone and ribs, rather than as bony plates from the skin as others have theorised," Dr Wu explained.

The researchers say this idea is supported by evidence from the way modern turtle embryos develop. The breast plate grows before the shell covering their backs.

The fossilised turtle ancestor, which has been named Odontochelys semitestacea, meaning half-shelled turtle with teeth, probably inhabited the river deltas or coastal shallows of China's Nanpanjiang trough basin - the area where the fossil was unearthed.

Researchers say the development of the shell to first protect the underside points to a mainly aquatic lifestyle.

Dr Olivier Rieppel from Chicago's Field Museum also examined the fossil.
"This strongly suggests Odontochelys was a water dweller whose swimming exposed its underside to predators. Reptiles living on the land have their bellies close to the ground with little exposure to danger," he said.

The researchers say further evidence to support the idea that this species lived mainly in water comes from the structure and proportions of the fossil's forelimbs, which closely resemble those of modern turtles that live in similar conditions.



BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | How the turtle's shell evolved

Such a well preserved fossil from 220,000,000 years ago is pretty awe inspiring, you can see the organism exactly as it died, that it illuminates an evolutionary history is a bonus. This animal would have been closer in time to our shared ancestor than it is to modern turtles, there's a neat thought.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:29 PM   #2
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Don't give me this thuggish science bs... Evolution is a lie created by man.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:30 PM   #3
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Such a well preserved fossil from 220,000,000 years ago
Rubbish, everyone knows the earth is only 10,000 years old........
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:56 PM   #4
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You gotta love that Rebel from Nazareth.

What a sneak
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:44 PM   #5
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I wish those were still around today!
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Old 11-27-2008, 04:29 AM   #6
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I wonder if they would taste nice

Come on, I can't be the only one to think about what now extinct species would taste like
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Old 11-27-2008, 04:46 AM   #7
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I imagine that trilobites tasted like lobster
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:11 PM   #8
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e-bay
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Old 11-28-2008, 04:16 AM   #9
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I wish those were still around today!
For real. Turtles are so awesome, and these look about 20 times awesomer!
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