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Friday, July 10, 2009

"Evolutionary Novelty": How the Turtle Gets its Shell

Scientists have revealed a spectacular insight into turtle evolution - how the unique animals get their shells.
A Japanese team studied the development of turtle embryos to find out why their ribs grow outward and fuse together to form a tough, external carapace.
Reporting in the journal Science, the researchers compared turtle embryos with those of chicks and mice.
They found that, as turtles developed, part of their body wall folded in on itself forcing the ribs outward.
The team of researchers from the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, described the turtle shell as an "evolutionary novelty".


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