Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Missing link may explain how turtle got its shell

How turtles got their shells is "one of evolution's biggest mysteries." But a 210-million year old fossil uncovered in New Mexico may fill in some of the blanks, reports New Scientist.

The thin-shelled fossil resembles an armadillo, but falls in line with the turtle's lineage.

Scientists believe armor plating on the backs of early turtles "gradually fused together and to the reptile's vertebrae." Eventually, over millions of years, we end up with the wonderful creatures we have today.

According to the New Scientist column, the turtle's "body plan" hasn't changed much over 200 million years, making it on of the longest-running creatures on earth.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.